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Imprisoned journalist allegedly target of murder attempt

(IRFS/IFEX) - On 19 August 2008, lawyer Alayif Hasanov visited imprisoned "Azadlig" newspaper journalist Sakit Zahidov in prison number 14. Hasanov told IRFS that during their conversation, Zahidov said his life is in grave danger. According to Zahidov, one of his fellow prisoners was provided with scissors and ordered to kill him. He believes that the prison authorities are behind this; the prisoner that was told to kill Zahidov allegedly admitted this as well.

According to Hasanov, Zahidov immediately reported this situation to the penitentiary, and an authorized representative of the penitentiary service, Emin Hasanov, met with Zahidov. Zahidov requested a transfer to a different prison. Emin Hasanov stated that Zahidov's request will be positively resolved.

Alayif Hasanov noted that prisoners who have contact with Zahidov also report facing problems. "The prisoners who have contact Zahidov are badly treated in different ways; for example, their appeals for alternative punishments or early release are routinely disregarded," he explained

The lawyer also noted that the prison authorities have consistently refused to move Zahidov to the prison's medical department, despite his health ailments, except when he was on hunger-strike. "Basically, they want to create an unbearable situation for Sakit Zahidov," added Hasanov.

Hasanov advised Zahidov not to go on hunger strike, but to use other means to improve his situation (appealing to law-enforcement agencies, appealing to the public).

Hasanov said he will appeal to the penitentiary service to conduct an investigation and try to achieve dismissal of those responsible for the murder attempt on Zahidov.

IRFS contacted the Penitentiary Service Public Relations Department Chief Mehman Sadigov regarding this incident. Sadigov stated that there is no danger to Zahidov and accused Hasanov of spreading false information.

Updates the Sakit Zahidov case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/95044

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