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Azerbaijani Writer's Books Burned Over His Controversial Novel

GANCA, Azerbaijan -- Protesters in western Azerbaijan have burned books by a prominent novelist, calling him "a traitor of the Azerbaijani nation."

The incident happened on February 10 in the city of Ganca.

Akram Aylisli was officially stripped of his "People's Writer" title and his presidentially-awarded pension last week.

These actions were taken against Aylisli because of his novel "Stone Dreams," which was printed in a popular Russian magazine last year.

The novel describes sensitive issues in relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Azerbaijani writer Akram Aylisli
Azerbaijani writer Akram Aylisli

It focuses on the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, the mostly Armenian-populated region that broke away from Azerbaijan in the early 1990s.

The Union of Azerbaijani Writers announced February 9 that Aylisli had been expelled from its ranks.

On the same day, hundreds protested in Aylisli's native village of Aylis, condemning the author and his book.