VIENNA, 4 June 2012 – The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, welcomed today the early release from prison of social media activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, adding that she hoped all imprisoned journalists would also be set free soon.
“The decision to release Hajiyev is a positive step. However, the authorities could do more to foster freedom of expression by liberating all imprisoned journalists. I look forward to hearing more good news from Azerbaijan in the near future,” Mijatović said.
The Supreme Court of Azerbaijan today met Hajiyev’s request for parole and ordered his immediate release from custody. Hajiyev had been serving a two-year prison term on charges of avoiding military service.
Several journalists have been imprisoned in recent months and are either on trial, or awaiting trial under various criminal charges. Among them are Anar Bayramli, a reporter with Iranian media outlets accredited in Azerbaijan; Avaz Zeynalli, the chief editor of the Khural newspaper; and two Khayal TV executives, Zaur Quliyev and Vüqar Qonaqov.