Sign up for weekly updates

Imprisoned journalist Sakit Zahidov denied access to medication, his legal appeals ripped up by prison authorities

(IRFS/IFEX) - Imprisoned "Azadlig" newspaper journalist and satirist Sakit Zahidov is not being given an opportunity to take his medicine. Prison officials are creating artificial obstacles to prevent the journalist from taking medicine sent from the United States, Zahidov's wife, Rena Zahidova, told IRFS on 1 July 2008.

"Sakit's condition is not good," said Zahidova. "He has pain in his legs and heart. He is also displeased with the prison chief. Although he has on numerous occasions written appeals to Justice Minister Fikret Mammedov, Committee Against Torture Chairman Elchin Behbudov, the Presidential Administration, the Ombudsman, the Milli Mejlis (National Assembly), and the National Security Ministry, the appeals are being taken by the prison leadership and ripped up. In the appeals, Sakit asks to be transferred because of the prison chief, who is doing everything in his power to prolong Sakit's punishment. This is probably the result of an order from higher up."

Zahidova also said that newspapers brought for Zahidov are not being given to the imprisoned journalist.

Meanwhile, on 2 July, Lluís Maria de Puig, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), conducted a briefing for journalists at the Azerbaijan office of the Council of Europe. In response to a question about the imprisonment of journalists in Azerbaijan, Lluís Maria de Puig stated that the imprisonment of journalists in Council of Europe member states is unacceptable. He mentioned that the immediate release of journalists and other political prisoners was demanded in a resolution on Azerbaijan adopted by PACE.

The PACE president emphasized that a special co-rapporteur might be appointed in September if the Azerbaijani government does not take action on political prisoners. "Azerbaijan could face serious sanctions if it doesn't integrate standards of human rights and democracy and if it doesn't fulfill its commitments," he said.

When asked about the decision to forcefully bring "Azadlig" newspaper correspondent Agil Khalil to court, Puig said he was not familiar with the details of the matter.

Updates the Zahidov case:

Latest Tweet:

A joint consultation tackled how human rights defenders in Mongolia are still vulnerable to threats, intimidation,…

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.