An Azeri journalist on hunger strike injured himself

An Azeri journalist on hunger strike injured himself

Ismi Agha! OC Media:

Imprisoned Azerbaijani journalist Polad Aslanov has been on a hunger strike for several days. According to his wife, Gulmira Aslanova, after he was barred from making weekly phone calls, he cut his veins in protest, after which he was allowed to make calls.

He told reporters that the prison authorities refused to give Aslanov water to force him to end his hunger strike.

Aslanov ran the independent news websites Xeberman Press Press-az. For more than a year, the court has not considered his appeal against the sentence. He started his hunger strike on January 6.

Aslanova told VOA that her husband was protesting both his “illegal” detention and the delay in hearing his case.

Aslanov was found guilty of treason in 2019 and sentenced to 16 years in prison for allegedly spying for Iran. He does not accept the accusations.

At the time of his arrest, Aslanov was reportedly working on an investigation that could reveal that State Security Service members were involved in the extortion scheme.

“There is no information about Polad Aslanov’s health condition yet. “But she will continue her hunger strike until the end,” Aslanova said. Earlier, in June, he went on a 30-day hunger strike.

International human rights organizations such as Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) have condemned the Azerbaijani government’s treatment of Aslanov.

“Azerbaijani authorities should immediately release journalist Polad Aslanov, not to challenge his case,” said Gulnoza Said, the Committee to Protect Journalists’ Europe-Central Asia Program Coordinator, in a 2020 statement. “By imprisoning a critical journalist on trumped-up charges, Azerbaijan is only strengthening its reputation as one of the leading countries in imprisoning journalists in Eurasia.”

Reporters Without Borders called Aslanov’s accusation “fake.”

Translation by Zara Poghosyan

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