A Yasamal District Court judge found Editor-in-Chief Kebirli and reporter Agazadeh of the Baku-based opposition daily guilty of defaming President Ilham Aliyev’s uncle, Jalal Aliyev, and sentenced each to 30 months in prison, according to local and international press reports. Jalal Aliyev is also a member of Azerbaijan’s parliament.
Jalal Aliyev filed a libel complaint against the journalists after a February article in Muhalifet criticized his business activities and those of his family, according to local and international press reports. The story, which relied partly on a Turkish news report, said the Aliyevs’ import-export business profited from the family’s political connections.
Kebirli and Agazadeh were among 114 political prisoners pardoned by presidential decree on December 28. Local press freedom advocates expected the two would be released by early 2008.