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Azerbaijani Minority Journalist Detained On Drug Charges

Azerbaijan's Talysh-language newspaper "Tolisi sado"
Azerbaijan's Talysh-language newspaper "Tolisi sado"
BAKU -- A court in Baku has sanctioned a three-month pretrial detention period for the chief editor of the Baku-based "Tolisi sado" (The Voice of Talysh) independent newspaper.

Hilal Mamedov was arrested on June 21 and accused of possession of illegal drugs.

The nongovernmental Baku Institute for Peace and Democracy said on June 22 that Mamedov was abducted by unknown individuals on June 21, and later his relatives were informed he had been arrested.

Mamedov's relatives say he has never used drugs and that they believe the arrest is politically motivated.

No response to the allegation was immediately available from police.

Mamedov's newspaper is printed in the Talysh language, a branch of Persian.

The Talysh minority's leader in Azerbaijan, Novruzali Mamedov, who edited the newspaper before Mamedov, died in prison in 2009 after he was found guilty of spying for Iran and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

With reporting by

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