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Azerbaijani Pro-Democracy Photographer Released, Assault Charge Imposed

Azerbaijani photographer Mehman Huseynov after his release on June 13
BAKU -- An Azerbaijani pro-democracy photographer and blogger has been released a day after his arrest -- but with the charges against him increased.

Mehman Huseynov, who works for the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety campaign group and the independent Azerbaijani Turan news agency, told journalists after his release on June 13 that he has now been charged with "assaulting" police during an unauthorized opposition rally on the eve of last month's Eurovision Song Contest in Baku.

The assault charge could result in up to five years in jail if he is convicted.

Huseynov had initially been charged with "hooliganism."

Azerbaijani opposition groups staged a series of unauthorized rallies during Eurovision in a bid to use the internationally-watched event to highlight human-rights violations.