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Human Right Watch Urges Baku To Stop Intimidating Writer

Azerbaijani writer Akram Aylisli
Azerbaijani writer Akram Aylisli
Human Rights Watch says Azerbaijan's government "has led the effort" to intimidate a prominent writer because of his controversial novel.

The New York-based group said on February 12 that Baku has launched "a campaign of vicious smears" against Akram Aylisli."

On February 11, a progovernment party offered a $12,700 reward to anyone who cuts off one of Aylisli's ears.

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

He was also expelled from the Union of Azerbaijani Writers.

His wife and son have been forced to leave their jobs.

The actions were taken because of Aylisli's novel "Stone Dreams."

It focuses on clashes between Azerbaijanis and Armenians in Baku and Nagorno-Karabakh, the mostly Armenian-populated region that broke away from Azerbaijan in the early 1990s.

With reporting by AP
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