Home > News > World
Thursday May 15, 2014 MYT 6:50:03 PM
Thursday May 15, 2014 MYT 6:52:04 PM
BAKU (Reuters) - An opposition journalist in Azerbaijan was sentenced on Thursday to eight years in prison in a case critics say highlights a government-led crackdown on dissent in the oil-rich former Soviet republic.
A largely Muslim state in the South Caucasus, Azerbaijan serves as a transit route for U.S. troops in Afghanistan as well as a source of energy supplies destined for Europe.
But the strongman rule of President Ilham Aliyev has been lambasted by international rights organisations for curbing freedom of speech.
Parviz Gashimly, a journalist, human rights activist and member of the Popular Front opposition party, was jailed after being convicted on charges of hooliganism and illegal weapons possession.
Gashimly, who had written critical articles about Aliyev, was arrested last September after police raided his apartment and reported finding firearms.
"Arguments of defence have not been taken into account, which is a proof that the whole case is politically motivated," Gashimly's lawyer, Elchin Sadikhov, told reporters. "Authorities are trying to intimidate journalists and prevent publication of critical articles." He said the verdict would be appealed.
The government says Azerbaijan's nine million people enjoy full freedom of speech and access to a lively opposition press.
Nils Muiznieks, human rights commissioner at the Council of Europe, said earlier this month however that freedoms were deteriorating in Azerbaijan, urging authorities to uphold regional standards and citing a "worrying pattern" of abuse.
(Reporting by Nailia Bagirova; Writing by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
North Korea agrees to talks with South on family reunions
U.S.'s Biden speaks with Ukrainian President Poroshenko about attacks
Libya arrests three suspected smugglers over migrant boat disaster
Lebanon should investigate use of force in protests - Amnesty
Poll lead for Greece's Syriza narrows as Tsipras presses for new mandate
Five unusual ways to build endurance for a marathon
Frequent flyer drives home sports car worth RM230,000
KLHC coach believes MHL title will be decided on Sunday
Logitech is launching two new gaming headphones
Copyright © 1995-2015 Star Media Group Berhad (ROC 10894D)(Formerly known as Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad)