Azerbaijan frees journalist after 2 years

2016-03-17 22:49
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Baku - A court in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan has ordered the release of a journalist who has spent nearly two years in prison on espionage charges. In a separate move, the country's president has pardoned 148 people, including several journalists and opposition activists.

Rauf Mirkadirov was arrested in April 2014 and sentenced last year to six years in prison for spying for Armenia, Azerbaijan's historic enemy. Mirkadirov has denied the charges.

The appeals court in the capital Baku on Thursday released the journalist after converting his prison term to a conditional sentence.

Mirkadirov has worked as a Turkey correspondent for an independent Azerbaijani newspaper, which was closed down following his arrest.

Also on Thursday, President Ilham Aliev issued pardons for three other imprisoned journalists, as well as some top opposition figures.

The Caspian Sea nation has come under criticism for a crackdown on human rights. High-profile journalists like Mirkadirov have been hit with charges that they say are retaliation for their reporting.

Read more on:    azerbaijan

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