The South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders

Azerbaijan: Jailed Opposition Journalist Pardoned
An Azerbaijani opposition journalist and the editor in chief of "Azadliq" newspaper, Qanimat Zahid, was freed on March 17 three years into a four-year sentence for what supporters say were politically motivated charges of hooliganism, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports. 

Zahid said he was asked on his release, what he wanted to say about the presidential pardon that freed him. "I replied, 'I deserve freedom,'" he said.

Journalist said his imprisonment had violated not only his rights, but the rights of Azerbaijani society. He said he had not wanted to ask for a pardon as he didn't want to seem angry or aggressive. But he added: "My arrest -- it was their [authorities'] mistake. You simply can't do such things to people."

Qanimad Zahid was among some 70 people pardoned by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

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