Polad Aslanov

Source: Meydan TV

Caption: Polad Aslanov

Imprisoned journalist Aslanov restarts hunger strike

Aslanov's wife says he is protesting against pressure and illegal actions of the head of the penitentiary.

Polad Aslanov, the arrested founder and editor-in-chief of "xeberman.com", has been on a hunger strike since 18 May. This is the second time he has been on a hunger strike. Previously he went on a strike between 1 February and 3 March when the Baku Court of Appeal dismissed his complaint.

Meydan TV was informed of the new hunger strike by his wife Gulmira Aslanova. According to her, Aslanov is protesting against the pressure and illegal actions of Emin Hasanov, the head of Prison No. 1, where he is being held. “His telephone calls have been banned illegally. He is also not allowed to bathe. Therefore, Polad Aslanov decided to go on hunger strike in protest. He also submitted a written application in this regard", she stated.

Aslanova says that she also informed the Ombudsman's Office about her husband's hunger strike in prison.

Mehman Sadigov, head of the Penitentiary Service's public relations department, denied reports that Polad Aslanov was on a hunger strike. He also denied the allegations Aslanov was not allowed telephone calls or baths. The head of the department said that all prisoners, regardless of their identity, are treated equally and the rights provided by law are guaranteed.

Polad Aslanov has been in custody since 12 June 2019. He was sentenced to sixteen years in prison by the Baku Court of Grave Crimes for treason. The criminal case claims that Polad Aslanov secretly cooperated with Iranian special services, held secret meetings with them outside the country, and passed information and received money in return.

The editor-in-chief denies the allegations and maintains his innocence. He says he was charged and sentenced because of his critical journalistic activity, especially for writing articles about Azerbaijani State Security Service employees taking bribes from companies that visit pilgrims.

Although Polad Aslanov was not drafted for mandatory military service for a long time due to health problems, in April 2018 he received a sudden call-up. He completed his military service in April 2019. He was arrested two months later.

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