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Belarusian presidential candidate Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu lies in his campaign headquarters after he was beaten during a postelection rally in Minsk in December.
Former Belarusian opposition presidential candidate Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu has refused to go for KGB questioning after an argument with a KGB officer monitoring his house arrest, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Minsk-based human rights defender Raisa Mikhaylouskaya told RFE/RL that Nyaklyaeu had to call an ambulance as his blood pressure rose as a result of his March 2 argument with the KGB officer.

She said Nyaklyaeu was fine after treatment by paramedics.

Mikhaylouskaya said the incident was kicked off when one of the KGB officers who is permanently present in Nyaklyaeu's apartment refused to leave it when Nyaklyaeu and his wife Volha were about to go to the KGB office in Minsk for questioning.

When the officer refused, Nyaklyaeu protested and refused to report for interrogation.

In the past, when the couple went for questioning, the KGB officers left the apartment for the duration of their absence.

Nyaklyaeu and several other opposition presidential candidates, along with hundreds of their supporters, were arrested on December 19-20 while protesting the results of the presidential election, which they say was rigged.

Nyaklyaeu, 64, was severely beaten during the demonstration and was snatched from his hospital bed the following day and taken to jail.

Incumbent President Alyaksandr Lukashenka was announced the runaway winner of the December vote, which international election monitors said was flawed.

Two other former presidential candidates -- Andrey Sannikau and Mikalay Statkevich -- remain in custody. Nyaklyaeu was released from jail in January and Ales Mikhalevich in February. All have been charged with organizing mass disturbances.

Read more in Belarusian here
Journalists, politicians, and admirers visit the grave on March 2 of Elmar Huseynov, who was killed in 2005 in Baku.
Six years have passed since the killing of Elmar Huseynov, a prominent Azerbaijani journalist and editor-in-chief of the now-defunct opposition magazine "Monitor," but his murder remains unsolved.

Huseynov founded "Monitor" in 1996 and was subsequently a constant victim of harassment by authorities.

Government officials tried to shut down the magazine, confiscated its print runs, lodged libel cases in the courts, and pressured Baku print houses to refuse to print it.

Prior to his death, Huseynov had received threats and was concerned for his safety.

Huseynov was shot seven times at the threshold of his apartment on March 2, 2005. Former colleagues and rights groups have linked the murder to his journalistic activities.

Every year a group of friends, opposition politicians, journalists, and civil-society representatives mark the anniversary of his death by visiting his grave.

They still hope that one day Huseynov's murderers will be brought to justice, but the prospects of the crime being solved in the near future are bleak.

Immediately after Huseynov's murder, President Ilham Aliyev convened an extraordinary meeting of the Security Council and vowed to find the killer within 40 days.

Azerbaijani authorities claim they have found his murderers -- Georgian citizens Tahir Khubanov and Teymuraz Aliyev -- but Georgia refuses to hand them over.

Georgia says the Azerbaijani side has failed to present any evidence.

Huseynov's widow, Rushana Huseynova, has submitted an appeal to the European Court for Human Rights over the Azerbaijani government's failure to solve her husband's murder.

Meanwhile, a friend and former colleague, Eynulla Fatullayev, tried to investigate Huseynov's murder independently but was himself arrested and imprisoned in April 2007 on libel charges.

Fatullayev is still in jail despite a decision by the European Court of Human Rights asking that the Azerbaijani government release him immediately.

-- Ali Novruzov

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About This Blog

"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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