Turan Information Agency reporter briefly detained for filming discontented crowd

October 3rd, 2013

Hafiz Babaly, correspondent of Turan Information Agency, was today detained and taken to Absheron District Police Department, the journalist himself reported to the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) today. According to Babaly, on his way to Baku from Sumgait city, near the lake Masazyr, he saw that the highway way blocked in connection with the president’s travel to Sumgait. The lengthy road closure, which caused traffic jam and chaos on streets, was met with strong discontent among people.

Suddenly, seeing a group of people arguing noisily and police officers gathering near them, the journalist tried to film the scene, but was hindered by patrol officers who demanded his press ID. It appeared to be just an excuse, as the journalist was not allowed to film even after presenting the ID, and his camera, ID and eyeglasses were taken away. Babaly was rudely scolded and taken to the Absheron District Police Department. On the way, he was accused of functioning against the authorities. They told that the journalist had to ask for permission before filming and he is not allowed to spread what he had filmed.

“I told them that they hindered my work and it creates criminal liability, but they argued that I was hindering them, that because of me they could not catch the arguers. However in the police department, their chief said that I have a right to film and they released me without deleting the footage” said Babaly.