On 2 August Elchin Sadigov, the lawyer of imprisoned journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, was informed that the data from his client’s cell phone has been seized by authorities. As part of a wider criminal investigation, Mukhtarli’s cell phone data will be sent for forensic analysis along with the computers of other journalists accused of working with Meydan TV.
‘From the [court’s] decision it’s obvious that Afgan Mukhtarli’s cell phone data has been illegally obtained [by the authorities],’ Sadigov told Meydan TV. He added that investigators have access to the data from Mukhtarli’s WhatsApp Messenger account.
‘In addition, it was revealed that no signs of injuries were found on Afgan Mukhtarli’s person,’ Sadigov went on to say. ‘But Afgan Mukhtarli was given a physical examination 38 days after [his arrest] occurred. We think that this report was compiled with the goal of concealing Afgan Mukhtarli’s injuries.’
On 29 May Afgan Mukhtarli
in Tbilisi, Georgia, only to reappear under arrest in Baku. Azerbaijani authorities have charged Mukhtarli with crossing the border into Azerbaijan illegally, smuggling (he was allegedly carrying $10,000 at the time of his arrest), and resisting the orders of a police officer. The journalist himself has stated that he was kidnapped in Tbilisi and brought to Azerbaijan against his will.
Authorities have stated that Mukhtarli’s case is now part of a larger
against Meydan TV. Azerbaijan’s Prosecutor General has charged Meydan TV with illegal commercial activities, large-scale tax evasion, and interfering in elections. Meydan TV co-founder Emin Milli
in 2016 on the criminal investigation, saying, ‘We consider this as a declaration of war against independent journalism in Azerbaijan.’
Afgan Mukhtarli is an investigative journalist who has published several pieces at Meydan TV. His last contribution before his arrest was an
about politically-motivated kidnappings in Azerbaijan. Since his arrest, ifact.ge has completed an
that Mukhtarli was working on, republished
by Meydan TV.