Politicians and Youth Activists Demand Freedom for Blogger Mehman Huseynov

March 22nd, 2017

A video compilation has been created by Eltac Turan Türk featuring politicians, public figures, youth activists and ordinary citizens protesting against Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) Chairman, satiric Facebook page Sancaq’s manager, journalist and video blogger Mehman Huseynov’s arrest. The video contains fragments from videos shot and disseminated by Mehman Huseynov and speeches by National Strategic Thought Centre Chairman Isa Gambar, Musavat Party Chairman Arif Hajili, D-18 Movement leader Ruslan Izzatli, REAL Movement Executive Secretary Natig Jafarli, media expert Alasgar Mammadli and others assessing the youth activist’s illegal arrest as an attack on freedom of expression in Azerbaijan and calling for his immediate release.

The video, with a length of 3 minutes and 23 seconds, immediately went viral on social networks and gained a vast viewer audience.

Background: Mehman Huseynov was detained in the evening hours on 9 January. He was released after being convicted and fined AZN 200 under Article 535.1 (disobedience to a lawful requirement of the police) of the Administrative Violations Code. Following the hearing, Huseynov told journalists that he was harassed for his professional activities and had been tortured by the police officers.

Following this interview, the Ministry of Internal Affairs filed a petition with the Prosecutor General’s Office, noting that Mehman Huseynov had made baseless allegations in his press statements such as his abduction by the police, illegal restriction of his freedom, and his subjection to torture including physical pain and mental suffering, in order to deceive the public and to undermine the reputation of the police.

“The Ministry of Internal Affairs has filed a petition with the Prosecutor General’s Office of the country to give a legal assessment of Mehman Huseynov’s act of slandering the police by accusing them of a serious crime. Additional information on the results of the investigation will be published,” the Ministry’s statement read.

Mehman Huseynov says he has undergone a medical examination in connection with his harassment and injuries sustained. “We filed a complaint with Baku City Prosecutor’s Office due to the tortures inflicted on me, but the prosecutor’s office declined to launch a criminal case in this connection,” Huseynov added.

Mehman Huseynov is the editor of the popular critical Facebook page Sancaq and the chairman of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety.

Mehman Huseynov, the founder and manager of the Facebook page Sancaq (https://www.facebook.com/Sancaq.biz/?fref=nf) having 323,000 followers, has recently been producing videos on senior officials’ and parliamentarians’ expensive properties. He has also been making videos on important socio-political processes taking place in the country. Huseynov’s latest video was a street poll on first lady Mehriban Aliyeva’s appointment as first vice president by President Ilham Aliyev. The question he asked the respondents was ‘would you give your wife a post if you were in charge’.