Accessibility links

Azerbaijani Anticorruption Blogger Says He Was Beaten By Police


In recent weeks, Mehman Huseynov had posted photographs of villas he alleged belonged to government officials and lawmakers and interviewed workers who built the homes.

BAKU -- A prominent Azerbaijani blogger who crusades against corruption says he was beaten by police after being forcibly detained on a central Baku street on January 9.

Hours after friends said that Mehman Huseynov had been grabbed by men in civilian clothes and shoved into a vehicle, he was brought to a Baku court that ruled that he had disobeyed police and fined 200 manats ($113).

Leaving the courtroom, Huseynov said that he had been detained after an unemployed man complained that he had hit him with his shoulder.

Huseynov, who was held incommunicado until the hearing, said the officers who detained him had put a sack over his head, verbally abused him, and beat him. His nose was bloodied.

"I am not broken," Huseynov said, adding that he does not plan to pay the fine.

Huseynov's efforts to expose high-level corruption have irked President Ilham Aliyev's government.

In recent weeks, Huseynov had posted photographs of villas he alleged belonged to government officials and lawmakers and interviewed workers who built the homes.

Rights groups and government critics say Aliyev, who succeeded his father in 2003, has used politically motivated arrests and other methods to stifle dissent in the oil-rich former Soviet republic in the South Caucasus.

Rebecca Vincent, the U.K. bureau director for Reporters Without Borders, said on Twitter that Huseynov is under a travel ban and "remains at serious risk," despite his release.

She added: "Others aren't so lucky in #Azerbaijan. More than 100 political prisoners remain unjustly jailed for disagreeing w/corrupt Aliyev regime."

With reporting by minval.az and 1news.az
XS
SM
MD
LG