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Health of detained journalist seriously deteriorating

(IRFS/IFEX) - On 4 December 2009, a press conference was held in IRSF's press center to bring attention to the case of detained journalist Mushfig Huseynov, a "Bizim yol" newspaper correspondent who is suffering from tuberculosis. The journalist's father, Tofig Huseynov, and other relatives pointed to the serious deterioration in the journalist's health.

On 14 October, Mushfig Huseynov was transferred from prison to the penitentiary's specialized treatment facility for prisoners suffering from tuberculosis. Tofig Huseynov said that the two-month treatment his son received had not yielded any positive changes in his health. On the contrary, the journalist's health has deteriorated since he was transferred to the medical facility, indicated by the fact that his temperature has not dropped below 38 degrees Celsius. However, Penitentiary Services representatives claim that his temperature hovers between 37.1 and 37.2 degrees Celsius.

Mushfig Huseynov's condition has worsened because he is not receiving the right treatment, his father warned. He believes his son has developed drug-resistant tuberculosis, for which there is no cure, and says it is now essential that Mushfig Huseynov be released from the facility and receive treatment at his home to prevent the disease from advancing and to ensure that his life is prolonged.

According to Mushfig Huseynov, three other people passed away from tuberculosis since he was transferred to the medical facility, which has affected his morale.

Tofig Huseynov added that when an appeal was filed calling for the journalist's release on medical grounds, Penitentiary Services argued in court that Mushfig Huseynov was healthy. Most recently, officials from the Penitentiary Services have claimed that the journalist was suffering from tuberculosis before he was arrested.

The journalist's father called on human rights defenders to visit Mushfig Huseynov and to work for his release. He stressed that his son has two very young children, one of whom is disabled, and added that he would appeal to the president in the coming days for a pardon.

IRFS chairman Emin Huseynov said that he approached the authorities several times seeking permission to visit the journalist in jail but was unsuccessful. "Each time, we were told to appeal to the Public Committee under the Justice Ministry. The Public Committee does not respond to our appeal," the IRFS chairman noted. He added that a round table on the journalist's case was planned for 7 December. IRFS has called on human rights defenders represented in the Public Committee, the Penitentiary Services and the Ombudsman Administration to participate in the conference.


BACKGROUND:

The journalist was convicted under Article 311.1 (receiving a bribe) of the Criminal Code in July 2007. On 21 January 2008 he was sentenced by Grave Crimes Court Judge Jamal Ramazanov to 6 years in prison. However, the sentence was later reduced to 5 years through a decision adopted by the Appellate Court.

"Bizim yol" is a daily paper that has been in print since 2003.

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