By RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service
Police in Azerbaijan's Absheron (read: Apsheron) district has detained a well-known opposition journalist Seymur Hazi. Hazi's lawyer, Elton Guliyev, told RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service that his client was detained on August 29 on suspicion of hooliganism. If convicted he could face up to 7 years of jail. Abseron district police department refused to give any details regarding Hazi's detention.
A correspondent of opposition Azadliq (Liberty) newspaper, Hazi is also an anchor with "The Azerbaijani Hour" on-line/ satellite TV show. Hazi's detention comes two days after the U.S. State Department issued a statement calling on the Azerbaijani government to "take immediate steps" to protect the freedoms of expression, assembly, and association.
The United States has condemned the beating of an Azerbaijani journalist and rights activist in the country's Naxcivan exclave.
Ilgar Nasibov was attacked by unknown assailants late on August 21 while he was in the office of the Naxcivan Resource Center, the only independent rights organization operating in the province.
Nasibov, who is currently hospitalized in grave condition, was found unconscious, suffered severe head trauma, a broken nose, fractured ribs, and serious blood loss.
In a statement on August 27, the U.S. State Department urged that those responsible be brought to justice, and called on the Azerbaijani government to “take immediate steps” to protect the freedoms of expression, assembly, and association.
International rights groups have been complaining about a crackdown by Azerbaijani authorities on rights activists.
On August 29, the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan issued an angry statement rejecting Washington's statement as " a groundless" and calling it as "an attempt of political pressure and interference in Azerbaijan's internal affairs."
Elman Abdullayev, the spokesperson of the Ministry said that "Washington should deal with its own many human right problems."