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The New-York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged the Azerbaijani authorities to allow two detained television journalists access to their lawyers and families.

Vuqar Qonaqov and Zaur Quliyev work for Xayal TV, a regional station based in the eastern city of Quba.

They were detained on March 13, kept for a week in pretrial detention, and then transferred to Interior Ministry facilities in Baku.

In a report published on March 28, HRW says it is not clear what they are accused of, and the conditions of their detention appear to violate Azeri and international law.

The report suggests that the detentions could be linked to a video the journalists posted on YouTube that has been linked to the March 1 rioting in Quba.

The video, which shows Quba Mayor Rauf Habibov denouncing residents, has been viewed as a catalyst for the unrest.

Read more in Azeri here
Russia’s Investigative Committee has pledged to probe alleged incidents of police abuse of citizens that have occurred over the past two years in the central republic of Tatarstan.

The pledge was announced amid continuing controversy over the alleged bottle-rape of a detainee in a police station in Tatarstan’s capital, Kazan, and the man's death a short time later.

Since the alleged incident, scores of people have come forward and alleged that they have also been victims of police brutality in Kazan.

In the case of the detainee who died earlier this month, five police officers have been charged with abusing their positions, forging arrest papers, and deliberately inflicting serious physical harm.

Several senior Kazan police officers have been fired.

Human rights activists have called for a thorough investigation.

Based on reporting by Interfax and ITAR-TASS

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"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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