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Azerbaijan’s Aliyev Opens Some Prison Doors

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is in an uncharacteristically charitable mood: on September 11, he pardoned imprisoned travel blogger Alexander Lapshin and ordered the pre-trial release of Mehman Aliyev, editor-in-chief of Azerbaijan’s last independent newswire.

For a country with essentially no free media, these might appear positive steps. But, at least in Mehman Aliyev’s case, the real reason for Aliyev’s bout of leniency could lie further afield – the September 7 inclusion of language in a foreign appropriations bill before the US Senate that would restrict Azerbaijani officials involved with the media executive’s arrest from entering the US.

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Azerbaijan’s Aliyev Opens Some Prison Doors

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