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Supreme Court upholds decision regarding imprisoned journalist's manuscript

(IRFS/IFEX) - The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Sabail District Court regarding the confiscation and destruction of the manuscript of a book that imprisoned "Azadlig" newspaper editor-in-chief Ganimat Zahid was writing, reported Zahid's spouse, Ayanda Mursaliyeva, who visited him in prison #17 on 31 August 2009.

According to Mursaliyeva, the Supreme Court recently sent Zahid a copy of the verdict upholding the decision of the Sabail District Court.

"Ganimat wants to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and hopes that the ECHR will solve this issue objectively," said Mursaliyeva.

Zahid wrote a book about the modern history of Azerbaijan while he was held in Bayil Prison. Bayil Prison Head Misir Aliyev took a handwritten 300-page manuscript from Zahid, claiming he wanted to read it. The manuscript was then sent to the Penitentiary Services of the Justice Ministry. Later, Misir Aliyev said the manuscript included statements against the Azerbaijani government, ex-president Heydar Aliyev and incumbent president Ilham Aliyev and therefore it was destroyed. Zahid filed a lawsuit against the prison administration and demanded that they be brought to justice and pay 1,000,000 AZN (approx. US$1,200,000) in compensation. Both the Sabail District Court and the Appellate Court issued a decision not to go forward with the lawsuit.

Mursaliyeva added that Zahid suffers from leg pain, but does not have any complaints about the prison conditions. Despite problems in his health, he is fasting.

Ombudsman Administration employees recently visited Zahid in prison.

Zahid was convicted under articles 127.2.3 (hooliganism with intentional infliction of minor bodily harm) and 221 (hooliganism) of the Criminal Code and imprisoned for four years.

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