1 Talysh Activist, 2 Talysh Newspaper Editors Arrested in Azerbaijan

The editor-in-chief of Tolyshi Sado newspaper Hilal Mammadov was arrested in Baku today.

According to his brother Sabahadddin Mammadov, a police precinct inspector came to him and requested him to speak with a series of convicts for ‘preventative purposes’.

Later, Hilal Mammadov called home and managed to report that he was being taken to the police department and was under arrest.

Later, the editor of another Talysh-language newspaper, “Tolyshon Sado” and head of the Talysh Cultural Center Rafiq Jalilov was summoned to the Investigation Department of Grave Crimes of the Prosecutor General's Office.

Talysh activist Farid Abbasov was later detained in the Masalli region of Azerbaijan.

On June 21, 2012, human rights activist and journalist Hilal Mammadov was arrested by officers of the Department for Combating Drug Addiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

He was formally charged under Article 234 of the Criminal Code (possession of narcotic substances).

On July 4, new charges were brought against him, according to articles 274 (high treason) and 283.2.2 (incitement to national, racial, social and religious hatred, enmity, ethnic discrimination), in connection with his publications, social activities and contacts with the Talysh peoples living in Iran.

International organizations "Amnesty International" and "Human Rights Watch" considered the arrest of Mammadov politically motivated, and PACE special rapporteur on political prisoners in Azerbaijan Christoph Sturser included him in the list of political prisoners.

On September 27, 2013, the court sentenced him to five years in prison with a term of imprisonment in a high-security prison.

On March 17, 2016, he was pardoned by a decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.