Friday Wrap-up: 98 Days Hunger Strike, Support for Talks, and Media Law in Action

Zamin Salayev. Illustration: Meydan TV

The week of May 15-19 saw activist Zamin Salayev’s health deteriorating with a hunger strike, the Us showing support over Moscow negotiations, and a TV channel and a radio station suspended.

Zamin Salayev’s Health Deteriorates Amid Controversial Legal Proceedings

Zamin Salayev, chairman of the Salyan branch of the Azerbaijan People’s Front Party, has been on a hunger strike in prison for 98 days. Due to his deteriorating condition, he was transferred to a treatment facility from the Baku Pretrial Detention Center.

His lawyer reported that Salayev’s internal organs, particularly his kidneys, are experiencing serious problems. Despite his worsening health, Salayev insists on continuing the hunger strike.

Salayev’s case is currently being heard in the Garadagh District Court, with the next hearing scheduled for May 17. He is charged with hooliganism involving a weapon. Salayev maintains his innocence, stating that his arrest was a premeditated provocation. He claims to have been wrongfully targeted and tortured while in custody, resulting in significant health issues. The case involves allegations of assault and insults between Salayev and a police officer, but his prison term is considered by many as a political arrest.

US Shows Support for Talks with Russia

The United States expressed full support for the meeting between the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Moscow on May 19, considering direct negotiations between the two parties as crucial for achieving lasting peace, and pledges ongoing support regardless of the location of the talks.

The recent meeting in Brussels, mediated by the head of the European Council, Charles Michel, was deemed positive, and efforts are being made toward signing a comprehensive peace agreement.

The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia are currently meeting in Moscow under the mediation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. A subsequent meeting of the heads of state, involving Russian President Vladimir Putin, is scheduled for May 25. Earlier meetings between the two ministers in Washington were acknowledged by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who noted significant progress toward a lasting peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

TV Channel and Radio Station Face Suspensions for Media Law Violations

The “Space” TV channel has been suspended by the Audiovisual Council for a period of three hours. The decision was made due to a violation of Article 14.1.6 of the Law “On Media” during the broadcast of the “Come, Talk” program on May 12. The violation involved the use of words and expressions with immoral lexical content.

The incident occurred when a viewer called into the program and engaged in a conversation with singer Javanshir Mammadov, using profanity. However, Mammadov defended the program, stating that it was a live broadcast and anything can happen. He mentioned that profanity is promptly removed from the aired content.

Media expert Alasgar Mammadli criticized the decision to suspend the TV channel, arguing that television should not be held accountable for live incidents.

In addition, the Audiovisual Council also reported violations by the “Media FM” radio station regarding the broadcasting of advertisements related to artificial termination of pregnancy and artificial insemination, which is prohibited under the “Advertising” Law. As a result, the radio station will face a one-hour suspension on May 21 from 23:00 to 24:00.

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