One day after Iran released two detained Azerbaijani citizens in Iran, Baku announced the release of a reporter for the Azeri network “Sahar” linked to Iran’s broadcasting network Seda Va Sima.
Anar Bairamli, a Sahar network reporter, was arrested on February 17 for possession of 0.4 grams of heroin. Bairamli, who is an Azerbaijani citizen, was first sentenced to two years in prison, but his sentence was later reduced in the appellate court to one year.
Following the release of two Azerbaijani nationals in Iran, Pers Azerbaijan News Agency reported that Bairamli was released without completing his sentence.
The Sahar internet site is currently blocked by Azerbaijani authorities, who claim it has a political agenda that threatens Azerbaijan’s security.
The two Azerbaijani nationals were arrested in Iran two and a half months after Bairamli’s arrest in Azerbaijan.
A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry announced yesterday that the two Azerbaijanis who were arrested in Iran for “establishing unacceptable connections” were released on the basis of “friendly and brotherly relations” between the two countries, and were handed over to the Azerbaijan’s representative in Tabriz.
Azerbaijani officials say Farid Hosseinov and Shahriyar Hajiov are two young poets that had travelled to Iran to participate in a poetry festival in Maragheh. Their arrest made relations between the two countries very tense.
Azerbaijan protested harshly against the arrests, but Iran later announced that they had been arrested for “involvement in sabotage efforts.”
Azerbaijani authorities had accused Iran of kidnapping and forbidden its citizens from travelling to Iran.