Journalist Shahin Rzayev arrested in Azerbaijan (Updated)
Political arrests in Azerbaijan
On the evening of January 16, well-known journalist Shahin Rzayev, who had been arrested for 15 days the day before, was released. According to the journalist, his appeal against this decision was partially upheld by the Court of Appeal, and the term of administrative imprisonment was replaced with a fine of 50 manats (29 USD). Shahin Rzayev was released from the courtroom.
A well-known journalist, Shahin Rzayev, has been administratively arrested in Baku. According to official information, he was convicted of petty hooliganism.
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According to his family, journalist Shahin Rzayev was detained by police on January 15 afternoon in Surakhany village near his home when he went to the nearest grocery store. He told his friends that he had been arrested for a status on Facebook, but he did not have time to specify exactly what status he was referring to. It turned out that his Facebook page had deleted all posts from the past two days.
A few hours after communication with Rzayev was interrupted, the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of Azerbaijan confirmed his arrest in response to journalists’ request. A couple of hours after his arrest, he was brought to court.
By decision of Surakhani District Court, Rzayev was sentenced to 15 days of administrative arrest. He was charged under Articles 510 (minor infliction of harm) and 535.1 (failure to obey a lawful demand of the police) of the Code of Administrative Offenses.
It is alleged that the journalist was swearing in the street and the police demanded he restrain himself, but he paid no attention. He was detained and taken to the 31st Police Department of Surakhani District.
According to relatives, family members were not informed about the detention and trial of Shahin Rzayev. He appeared in court with a lawyer at the expense of the state. The journalist said that what was written in the administrative offense report was a lie, that he did not swear and did not disobey anyone.
Rzayev is a journalist with a long work experience. He is known for his participation in numerous regional civil society projects aimed at achieving peace in the South Caucasus. He headed the Azerbaijan office of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) for about 15 years. He was also a contributor to JAMNews. He conducted trainings on conflict journalism.
From time to time Rzayev has criticized the Azerbaijani authorities.