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Azerbaijani President Amnesties 66 Inmates, Including Political Prisoners

Musavat party deputy leader Arif Hajili (right) is greeted by an acquaintance in Baku after his release from prison on June 22.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has signed a decree pardoning 66 prisoners, including nine men regarded by rights activists as political prisoners.

The freed inmates include the deputy head of the opposition Musavat party Arif Hajili.

All nine were convicted of participating in opposition rallies in April 2011 and received prison sentences ranging from two to three years at a trial in October.

The other released opposition figures are: Tural Abbasli, Zulfugar Eyvazli, Rufat Hajibeyli, Babak Hasanov, Sahib Kerimov, Ulvi Guliyev, Majid Mammadli, and Ahad Mammadli.

Two other people detained and jailed on the same charges remain in jail.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for jailed opposition figures to be released while visiting Azerbaijan earlier this month.

With additional reporting by Interfax