RSF “shocked by the government’s persecution” of Zahidov’s family

Reporters Without Borders: “We are extremely shocked by the government’s persecution of Ganimat Zahidov’s family.”

Source: Reporters Without Borders

On July 22, 2015, Johann Bihr, the head of the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk, decried recent arrests of opposition journalist Ganimat Zahidov’s relatives. “We are extremely shocked by the government’s persecution of Ganimat Zahidov’s family,” Bihr commented.

He  added: “In view of all the precedents in Azerbaijan, there can be no doubt that this wave of arrests is designed to pressure Zahid into terminating his journalistic activities.”

“We urge the authorities to put an immediate end to these trumped-up prosecutions and to abandon the practice of collective punishment,” Bihr said.

On its


, RSF published that the organization “condemns the Azerbaijani government’s harassment of the family of

Ganimat Zahid


Azadlig editor Ganimat Zahidov currently lives in political exile in France, while his relatives reside in Azerbaijan.

The local authorities arrested his nephew Tural on July 18 for allegedly disobeying the police. He was sentenced to 30 days of administrative detention.

His cousin Rovshan Zahidov and another nephew, Rufat Zahidov, were arrested separately on July 20. Rovshan was sentenced to 25 days in administrative detention, and Rufat is facing 5 to 12 years in prison for drug possession. According to Rufat’s father, the police apprehended him directly from the workplace in the Yasamal district of Baku.

In 2012, Ganimat Zahidov launched a weekly TV program “Azerbaycan Saati,” which was transmitted via satellite to Azerbaijan from abroad. The program strongly criticized the regime and the Aliyev family.

As RSF reported, Zahidov plans to increase the length of the program. Despite the harassment of his family, he told RSF that nothing would convince him to end his journalistic activities.

Azerbaijan is ranked 162nd out of 180 countries in the

2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index


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