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Eurovision Investigating Baku's Questioning Of Voters For Armenian Song

Azerbaijan's entry, AySel and Arash, sing during the song contest in Moscow in May
The head of the Eurovision Song Contest says the organization is investigating reports that Azerbaijani officials are interrogating Azerbaijanis who voted for the Armenian entry in the May contest, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Svante Stockselius, the executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, told RFE/RL on August 19 that the European Broadcasting Union, the organizer of Eurovision, began an investigation last week into the accusation that some Azerbaijanis are being asked by the National Security Ministry to explain why they voted for the Armenian song.

Speaking from Stockholm, he said that "We have very strict rules of what can and what cannot be done. It is our duty to ensure that the rules are followed by the participating members."

Stockselius added that in case of a violation of the contest's rules by a participating country, "We have a very clear system...if one of our members breaks the rules, it has to pay a fine or they also could be expelled and disqualified for three years from participating in the contest."

He said the EBU would have no further comment until after the investigation is concluded.

RFE/RL reported last week that Rovshan Nasirli, a young Eurovision fan living in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, was summoned to the country's National Security Ministry to explain why he had voted for the Armenian song.

He told RFE/RL that they made him write an explanation of his actions before letting him go.

Nasirli said they had a list of other people who had sent text messages from their mobile phones to vote for the Armenian song.