Protests Staged across Europe Calling for Mehman Huseynov’s Release

March 12th, 2017

On 12 March, protests were held in the German cities of Dusseldorf, Mainz and Nuremberg, the French city of Laval and Sweden’s Stockholm demanding freedom for jailed IRFS chairman and blogger Mehman Huseynov and all political prisoners in Azerbaijan.

As reported by the Musavat European Coordination Centre (ECC), the protests organised by ECC called for the release of journalist Mehman Huseynov and for an end to government persecution, harassment, arrests of journalists and bloggers and to politically motivated arrests in general.

According to ECC, along with the Centre itself, migrants representing the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party and REAL Movement also took part in organising the Dusseldorf protest. The protesters held up photos of political prisoners and posters bearing freedom slogans. The protests were organised in order to call the world’s attention to the political prisoner problem in Azerbaijan.

The protests also demanded the resignation of the Aliyev government.

Note that on the day of the European protests, 12 March, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev was on an official visit to France.

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, the 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 conduct 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 medical examination in connection with his harassment and the injuries he sustained. “We filed a complaint with the Baku City Prosecutor’s Office due to the torture inflicted on me, but the prosecutor’s office declined to launch a criminal case in connection to this,” 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), which has 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 to the respondents was ‘would you give your wife a post, if you were in charge’.

Link to the video: https://www.facebook.com/Sancaq.biz/videos/1410330369037361/?__mref=message_bubble