Azerbaijan Jails Iranian Journalists on Drug Charges

Posted June 12th, 2012 at 7:20 pm (UTC-5)
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A court in Azerbaijan has sentenced an Iranian journalist to two years in prison for drug possession in a case that his supporters say is politically motivated.

Azerbaijani authorities arrested Anar Bayramli, a reporter for Sahar TV and news agency, in February on charges of possessing illicit drugs.

He has denied the charges. Several media advocacy and other groups have said Bayramli was arrested for his professional activities and have asked for his release.

Iranian Press TV says Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast expressed regret about Bayramli's sentencing.

Iran has a large ethnic Azeri minority and is apprehensive of Azerbaijan's influence over it. Relations between the two countries have been strained.

Both countries have been accused of harassing journalists and suppressing media freedoms.