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Eurovision To Announce Decision On Azerbaijan Investigation

The executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, Svante Stockselius, at a press conference in Moscow in December
OSLO -- Eurovision has concluded an investigation into charges that Azerbaijani officials harassed people who voted for the Armenian entry in May's Eurovision Song Content and will soon decide whether to sanction Azerbaijan, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Svante Stockselius, the executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, told RFE/RL on September 11 that Eurovision's Reference Group -- which consists of eight members -- has met in Oslo and has discussed the issue regarding Azerbaijan.

A decision by the group will be sent to the European Broadcasting Union's Television Committee, which will announce a final decision on Azerbaijan in the coming days.

Stockselius said Azerbaijan could be cleared of the charges or it could be found to have violated Eurovision rules and either fined or banned from participating in the contest for up to three years.

The Reference Group is made up of delegates from Russia, Serbia, and Norway -- the last three winners of the Eurovision contest -- along with Spain, Holland, Ireland, and two members from Sweden.

Rovshan Nasirli, a 25-year-old Azerbaijani, was called to Azerbaijan's National Security Ministry on August 12 to explain why he voted for an Armenian song in the Eurovision Song Contest, which was held in Moscow in May.

The officials told Nasirli that his vote for Armenia -- Azerbaijan's long-standing rival -- was a matter of national security, and asked him for a written explanation before releasing him.

He said the ministry had a list of a few dozen other Azerbaijanis who voted for the Armenian entry by sending a text message from their mobile phones.