“I Will Continue Journalistic Investigations” - A. Mukhtarly (UPDATED)

Baku / 18.03.20 / Turan: The journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, released from imprisonment in Azerbaijan, arrived in Berlin at about 1 a.m. Baku time on March 18, where he was met by family members and a group of Azerbaijani activists.

He told a Turan correspondent some of the details of his release.

According to Mukhtarly, discussions around his release have been going on since last fall. This issue was actively raised by international organizations, the government, and the German Foreign Ministry. He was visited in prison by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic and PACE rapporteur Sunna Evarsdottir.

In this regard, back in December 2019, his release was expected. Then this did not happen, but the attitude towards him changed and restrictions were lifted.

“But I didn’t know that they would release me right now,” Mukhtarly noted.

According to him, the Surakhany District Court on the morning of March 17 examined his application for commutation of the sentence.

The court applied Article 77 (“Replacing the unserved part of the sentence with a milder type of punishment”) and sentenced him to a fine of 1,000 manat ($ 600).

From the court in a car of the Prison Service he was brought to the airport, where he also had a meeting with the Embassy of Germany staff.

Mukhtarly noted that he arrived in Berlin in transit through Moscow.

Apparently, the haste to resolve this issue was connected with the fact that March 17 was the last day of air communication between Baku and Moscow.

Earlier, in connection with the Corona Virus pandemic, regular flights from Baku to Berlin and other cities, from which it would be possible to transit to Germany, were stopped.

To the question of whether any conditions were put forward, he answered in the negative.

“No, there was nothing to soften criticism, to introduce a taboo on some topics and personal criticism of anyone. The only thing I was told about was that in criticism I should not go over to insults and abuse. But I don’t accept this at all in relation to anyone,” Mukhtarly noted.

He said that at present his health is normal.

The journalist said that he is grateful to all those who supported him during his imprisonment - family members, friends, colleagues, international organizations, not many media and journalists that are still independent in Azerbaijan, foreign media, and representatives of the opposition.

Mukhtarly said that he will continue journalistic investigations, and will also support efforts for democratic transformations in Azerbaijan. —06B-

2020 March 17 (Tuesday) 19:17:21

Journalist Afgan Mukhtarly released from prison and flies to Germany, to his family

Baku / 03.17.20 / Turan: Journalist Afghan Mukhtarly was released from prison today and flew by plane to Germany, to his family.

An official report on this was not distributed.

An investigative journalist, Afgan Mukhtarli, was abducted in Tbilisi in May 2017 and secretly transferred to Azerbaijan, where he was accused of smuggling, illegal border crossing, violence against the border guard and sentenced to 6 years in prison.

Mukhtarly"s arrest was condemned by the European Parliament, international human rights organizations condemned the arrest of Mukhrtarli. Amnesty International recognized him as a "prisoner of conscience."--0--

 

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