CPJ Calls for Release of Ikram Rahimov

Washington / 08.28.19 / Turan: The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists demanded that the Azerbaijani authorities stop the persecution of journalist Ikram Rahimov and immediately release him from prison.

"Ikram Rahimov should never have been imprisoned, and Azerbaijani authorities should use his appeal hearing as an opportunity to right this wrong," said Gulnoza Said, CPJ's Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. "Authorities should immediately release him and allow Rahimov to recover his health. The practice of imprisoning independent reporters who expose corruption must stop."

For the 20th day, Rahimov has been on a hunger strike in the Baku pre-trial detention center in protest against the unjustified arrest. The prison service confirms the fact of the hunger strike, but denies that he has any health problems.

** Rahimov was detained on October 26, 2018, charged with extortion by threats and arrested. On June 12, the court sentenced him to 5.5 years in prison. On August 7, a preliminary hearing was held in the Baku Court of Appeal in the case of Rahimov. The defense requested a second judicial investigation, new interrogations of witnesses and victims due to falsification of their testimonies in the trial court.

The lawyer also asked to appoint a re-examination of the audio recording of Rahimov's telephone conversations for the same reason. However, the applications were not granted. Rahimov went on a hunger strike in protest.

On August 21, he challenged the composition of the court and the hearings were adjourned to August 28. -16B-

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