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Moscow Court Orders Ministry To Revise Ban On Comedian Of Azerbaijani Origin

Comedian Idrak Mirzalizade attends a court hearing in Moscow earlier this year.
Comedian Idrak Mirzalizade attends a court hearing in Moscow earlier this year.

A court in Moscow has ordered the Interior Ministry to reconsider a lifetime ban on a stand-up comic of Azerbaijani origin that prohibits him from entering and residing in Russia.

Sergei Badamshin, a lawyer for comedian Idrak Mirzalizade, said on Telegram that the Zamoskvorechye district court "partially satisfied" his client’s appeal on October 5 and ordered the ministry to find "a reasonable ban term" for the performer.

In late August, the Interior Ministry said the presence in Russia of Mirzalizade, a Belarusian citizen who holds permanent residence in Russia, was "undesirable" because of his statements that "incited hatred and enmity toward ethnic Russians."

Last month, the Zamoskvorechye district court suspended the ministry's decision.

Mirzalizade, who is a well-known stand-up comic in Moscow, has said the performance at the heart of the controversy was about problems faced by non-Russians when they want to rent an apartment in the Russian capital.

In the performance, the comedian jokes about what would happen if the perception of Russians by others was based on various incidents, drawing a parallel with situations that shape prejudices about non-Russians living among Russians.

Mirzalizade served 10 days in jail in August for the performance.

Though he has maintained his innocence, he also has publicly offered apologies several times to "all who felt insulted by some parts of my performance, which were taken out of context."

Earlier in June, the comic wrote on Instagram that two unknown men attacked him after he received several threats because of his performance.

He also placed a video on YouTube showing the moment of the attack.

Mirzalizade is an ethnic Talysh, which is a Persian-speaking ethnic minority in Azerbaijan.

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