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Azerbaijani Activist Detained On Georgian Border

Baxtiyar Haciyev (file photo)

Baxtiyar Haciyev (file photo)

BAKU -- An Azerbaijani activist has been released after being detained for more than a day on the border with Georgia, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Baxtiyar Haciyev, a Harvard graduate who was going to Georgia to study for his doctorate, told RFE/RL today he was held first at a border-guard unit in the Shamkir district and then at a military facility after being detained on November 18.

His family was not allowed to see him during his detention.

Haciyev, 28, was told his documents were not in order and he was asked to provide a written explanation of why he had not performed his military service. He said local police and other officials harassed him.

"I am asked why I didn't report for military service in January," he said. "They want me to sign this explanatory document. The police, the executive officials are all here. I refused to sign it and told them it's illegal to detain me. I told them to apply legally if they want an official explanation of something."

Haciyev said he was not given food or water for 24 hours and that he was threatened while detained.

He said officials told him they were ordered not to let him leave the country, but declined to say who issued those orders.

The Nizami district military office declined to comment when asked about Haciyev. The Defense Ministry promised to investigate the incident.

Haciyev was a candidate in the November 7 parliamentary elections and took video of procedural violations on polling day.

He has been detained twice before, once for organizing a protest against bribery in the education system, and again in January 2007 shortly after the launch of his website,

For that he was sentenced to 12 days of "administrative arrest."