June 15th, 2008

Today (June 14), in the “Alaturka” Cafe, an event organized by the “Che Guvera Fan Club” to mark the 80 birthday of Che Guvera and attended by a representative of the Cuban embassy was raided by police.

Out of the approximately 25 people present, 20 were detained by police and taken to Nasimi District Police Department #22. Among those detained were IRFS Chairman Emin Huseynov and IRFS researchers Rasim Aliyev and Mirrehim Hasanov. The three had gone to conduct monitoring of the event.

At the police department, Huseynov expressed protest against the photographing and fingerprinting of all people detained, and he was then separated from all of the detainees. According to R. Aliyev, Huseynov was taken into a separate room with four unformed and civilian-clothed police officers. Aliyev could hear shouting, cursing and a commotion from outside the door. A civilian-clothed man with glasses threatened Huseynov, saying, “I’ll arrest you, I’ll kill, I’ll bury you,” and shouted profanity. After several minutes, E. Huseynov exited the room and the police department.

At the entrance to the police department Huseynov was met by IRFS co-founder, “Ayna” and “Zerkalo” Newspaper correspondent Iddrak Abbasov. Huseynov told him that he had been subjected to physical and psychological pressure. In particular he noted being struck on the back of the neck several times with the handle of a gun, and asked Abbasov to call an ambulance. Abbasov observed Huseynov was having difficulty walking. He and human rights activist Arzu Abdullayev, who was also present, approached the police department and asked them to summon an ambulance, however they rufused.  According to Abbasov, Huseynov then lost consciousness.

An ambulance eventually did arrive at the scene, and Huseynov was to the Centralized Emergency Medical Assistance Hospital.  Doctor Galib Ibrahimov told IRFS, that Huseynov sustained head and brain trauma, but his condition is stable. According to Ibrahimov, Huseynov is in neurological shock, but his life is not in danger.

U.S. Embassy Public Affair officer Jonathan Henick and other U.S. Embassy employees visited Huseynov in the evening. In addition, Rashid Hajili of the Media Rights Institute visited Huseynov in the late afternoon.

At present, Huseynov is being kept in the critical care department and has regained consciousness.

IRFS’ two other employees, as well as the other people who were detained, were released approximately seven hours, after being photographed and fingerprinted. According to Abdullayev, the detainees also included “Yeni Musavat” Newspaper correspondent Elshan Balakhanli, who was only released after parliamentarian Igbal Agazadeh and Penah Huseyn, as well as others, interceded on the journalist’s behalf.