Mehman Husseynov, an Azerbaijani photographer and blogger was this morning arrested in a Baku court room, after being sentenced to a two-year prison sentence
Husseynov is a popular youth icon in Azerbaijan, with thousands of followers, mostly young people, following him on his social media outlets. His detention is bound to have an impact both within as well as outside the country.
The circumstances that led to Husseynov's arrest also raise numerous questions about Azerbaijan's criminal justice and law enforcement system. Diplomatic Missions in Azerbaijan are following the case closely.
In February Huseynov was picked up by the police one evening and interrogated. The following morning he was presented in court where he appeared in a very distressed state, and fined 200 manats for resisting arrest. On his release however Huseynov claimed he had been tortured while in detention at Nasimi District Police Station. In response, the senior officer at the police station, Musa Musayev, decided to sue him for slander and for falsely accusing an individual with a serious felony. Husseynov's friends say that the blogger's claim of being tortured was never properly investigated, and that he was being punished for his investigative reporting
When the case started this morning Mehman Huseynov's lawyer Elchin Sadiqov filed a petition for a postponement of the trial, but this was not granted. "I requested one week's time to prepare additional evidence and investigate the matter further...however the judge only gave me half an hour. 10 minutes later he [the judge] demanded that I begin delivering evidence. . .Now he has been sentenced to two years", Meydan TV quoted the lawyer as saying. The lawyer further added that the decision will be appealed.
Source: commonspace.eu with agencies
Photo: A cartoon image of Azerbaijani blogger and photographer, Mehman Husseynov.