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Azerbaijani Journalist Gets 30 Days Detention In 'Fabricated' Case

Aziz Qarasoglu's lawyer said his client was set up and intended to appeal the ruling.

Aziz Orucov, the Baku manager of the Internet television station Channel 13, has been sentenced to 30 days of administrative detention in jail over a confrontation with a police officer.

Baku's Nasimi district court passed the sentence on May 2 after ruling that Orucov, who also used the pen name Aziz Qarasoglu, had resisted the lawful order of a police officer.

Orucov was detained earlier in the day, together with his wife, Lamiya Carpanova, who is an editor at Channel 13. Carpanova was released after being held for about two hours.

Orucov's lawyer, Elcin Sadiqov, told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service that his client was set up and intended to appeal the ruling.

He said Orucov was detained because police reportedly mistook him for a wanted suspect named Faiq Cabbarov. Sadiqov added that there was no resemblance between his client and Cabbarov and that the incident was fabricated.

Sadiqov said the case was another example of the Azerbaijani authorities' ongoing crackdown against the media. Last month, the Ministry of Communications asked a Baku court to ban the websites of RFE/RL's Azerbaijan Service, the nongovernmental Azadiq newspaper, Meydan TV, Turan TV, and the Azerbaycan Saati TV channel.

RFE/RL President Thomas Kent called the move "blatant censorship that is intended to intimidate the independent press."

The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists on April 28 called on Baku to cancel the request and to lift a decree temporarily blocking the sites.

CLARIFICATION: This article has been amended to refer to the Azerbaijani journalist by his given name, not just his pen name.