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Azeri Opposition Newspaper Reporter Severely Beaten

(RFE/RL) March 6, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Assailants abducted and severely beat up a reporter who works for an Azerbaijani opposition newspaper, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reported.

A spokesman for the opposition People's Front of Azerbaijan, Isak Avazoglu, said Fikret Huseynli, a reporter with the "Azadliq" newspaper, was seized on March 5 by three men who threw him into the trunk of a car, drove him to a dark alley, and assaulted him.

The attackers left Huseynli after he lost consciousness, and passers-by took him to a hospital.

"Azadliq" Editor Qanimat Zahid told a press conference today that the attack on Huseynli could only be linked to his professional activities.

Interior Ministry spokesman Ehsan Zahidov rejected the allegations. According to Zahidov, Huseynli initially told doctors he injured himself in a fall but later changed his account of what happened.

The Interior Ministry said it was investigating the incident.

Last year, Elmar Huseinov, editor of the opposition magazine "Monitor," was shot in the lobby of his Baku apartment building. Both the United States and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) called on Azerbaijani authorities to solve that killing.

(with material from Interfax, AP)

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RFE/RL Caucasus Report

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