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Azerbaijani Newspaper Editor Charged With Treason

Editor Hilal Mamedov (right) of the Talysh-language independent newspaper "Tolishi Sada" is escorted by police in Baku on June 22.
BAKU -- Authorities in Azerbaijan have charged a journalist and rights activist with treason in a case widely seen as politically motivated.

A lawyer for Hilal Mamedov said his client was facing charges of high treason and incitement of ethnic, religious, and racial hatred.

Mamedov, the editor of the Baku-based independent newspaper "Tolisi sado" (The Voice of Talysh), is currently in pretrial detention following his June 21 detention on suspicion of heroin possession.

The newspaper is printed in the Talysh language, a branch of Persian.

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

Based on reporting by AFP and RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service