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Jailed Azerbaijani journalist ‘tortured, has lost teeth’

7 June 2017
Nijat Amiraslanov (Twitter)

A lawyer for Azerbaijani freelance journalist Nijat Amiraslanov claims that his client was tortured in custody and has lost his teeth.

Amiraslanov was detained by Gazakh District Police on 22 May and sentenced to 30 days in jail after a court ruled that he resisted police.

According to Meydan TV, the Ganja Court of Appeal held a scheduled hearing on 3 June to decide whether or not to annul Amiraslanov’s 30-day sentence. He had planned to appeal the decision but instead admitted his guilt, canceling the appeal, RFE/RL reported.

Amiraslanov’s lawyer, Elchin Sadigov, claims that Amiraslanov was coerced into confessing.

‘We entered the courtroom before the trial and saw that the judge’s assistant was sitting next to the judge, and dictating the document to him [Amiraslanov]’, Meydan TV quoted Sadigov.

According to Caucasus Knot, the real reason for Amiraslanov’s prosecution was his criticism of the authorities on the Internet.

‘The young man was active on Facebook. He wrote critical posts against the authorities and reposted publications of media, including the Azerbaijani service of the RFE/RL, about corruption among Azerbaijani officials’, Caucasus Knot quoted Azerbaijani activist Bashir Suleymanli.

Azerbaijan has faced criticism internationally for cracking down on media freedom. In January 2017, American rights group Human Rights Watch reported that independent media outlets faced harassment and closure, and critical journalists faced threats and intimidation aimed at silencing them.

Last week, Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli was abducted from the Georgian capital Tbilisi to Azerbaijan. Georgian authorities have denied any involvement in the case.

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