Satirist beaten in jail
21 Oct 2008

Azerbaijani satirist and government critic Sakit Zakhidov, known by his pen name, Mirza Sakit, was brutally beaten in jail on 18 October, local media activists have told Index on Censorship.

Sakit was jailed in June 2008 for allegedly carrying narcotics, but human right groups say his detention is politically motivated. His brother, who is chief-editor of opposition newspaper Azadlik, is also in jail under hooliganism charges.

The beating happened almost a week after Azadliq published Sakit’s satirical poem, ‘Further up with Ilham’, in which he sharply criticised the controversial October 15 presidential elections, which the incumbent president won.

According to Sakit’s wife, the satirist was seriously ill and handcuffed when prison officials beat him heavily on his abdomen and kidneys.

Journalists in Azerbaijan are planned to hold a protest action today to condemn the maltreatment.

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