UN panel criticizes arrest of Azerbaijan bloggers

July 31, 2009

The Associated Press

GENEVA- A U.N. human rights panel has criticized limits on freedom of speech in Azerbaijan that have led to the closure of independent newspapers and the arrest of bloggers.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee says it is "concerned at the extensive limits to the right to freedom of expression of the media" in the oil-rich Caucasus country.

The panel says journalists are regularly harassed and subjected to lawsuits for alleged libel and "hooliganism."

It also expressed concern at the recent arrest of opposition bloggers Adnan Hadzhizade and Emin Milli.

The Geneva-based panel published a report Friday urging the government to lift undue restrictions on the media and protect journalists and bloggers from attacks.

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