Video-blogger Mehman Huseynov Detained in Shabran


On August 10, journalist and video-blogger Mehman Huseynov was detained by the police for conducting filming in Shabran, as reported by Huseynov himself.

“Residents of Shabran region contacted me saying that Tahir Suleymanov, an MP elected from Shabran, put them to a lot of trouble. The residents said they had not heard azan (call to prayer) come from the mosque for months. So, I travelled to Shabran region. When I was filming a villa belonging to MP Tahir Suleymanov and the mosque next to the villa, a plainclothesman approached me and said the MP wanted to meet with me. He drove us to Karvan restaurant in his car. It turned out that this restaurant also belonged to Tahir Suleymanov. When we were at the restaurant, Tahir Suleymanov’s brother came and said ‘you have filmed our house, delete that footage and we will do you any favour you want’. We did not agree and police officers came to the restaurant and took us to the police office, where they examined my camera recordings and after taking my statement demanded that I left the region,” Mehman Huseynov said.

On August 12, Huseynov posted the video, which he had filmed in Shabran, on Sancaq Production’s Facebook page.

MP Tahir Suleymanov reacted to the video with the following comment: “What is so strange about having a house… I am 70 years old and having been working for 55-60 years. Should not I have a house of my own?! You should ask the person, who has filmed this video, who gave him permission to film it?”

Background: IRFS photo-video journalist Mehman Huseynov was summoned to Sabail District Police Office on 13 June 2012, questioned for three hours, and taken into police custody for 48 hours. He was accused under Article 221.1 of the Criminal Code (hooliganism). The charges against Huseynov stemmed from a verbal disagreement that he had with a police officer at an unsanctioned protest rally held in front of the Baku Mayor’s Office on 21 May 2012. Huseynov was carrying out his professional duties when police used force against both protesters and journalists, including Huseynov and other IRFS employees, and broke Huseynov’s camera. A court in the Baku district of Sabail released Mehman Huseynov provisionally on the evening of 13 June 2012 but ordered him tried on charges of hooliganism and resisting the authorities under article 221.2.2 of the criminal code. The charges carry a possible five-year jail term. The investigation has been frozen for the past four years. Mehman Huseynov was also detained in November 2014, when he was travelling to an OSCE event. He was told that his name did not appear in the official database of Azerbaijani citizens. Shortly afterwards, when he went to the ASAN Service Centre to renew his identity card, his card was seized.

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