Presidential aide warns Meydan TV contributors

Presidential aide Ali Hasanov says that detention of foreign media journalists is “aimed at inviting them to adapt their activities to the rules for accreditation of foreign media outlets in Azerbaijan.”

Shortly after midnight on September 20 at Baku’s Heydar Aliyev International Airport, three young Azerbaijani journalists returning from a training in Ukraine failed to clear passport control and were immediately handed over to a special investigative branch of the Ministry of Interior dedicated to fighting organized crime. They were not surprised.

Sevinc Vaqifqizi, Izolda Aghayeva, and Ayten Farhadova are all regular contributors to this website, and they were the third, fourth, and fifth to be detained in the past five days by the Ministry of Interior’s General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime (GDCOC).

All three were released after five hours and reported they, contrary to Azerbaijani law, were

not allowed to contact

their families after the third hour. The journalists reported being questioned about Meydan TV’s management structure and the events of Mingachevir. Vaqifqizi and Aghayeva were summoned to the General Prosecutor’s office earlier this month and questioned on the same subjects.

Contrary to the investigators’ line of questioning and the General Prosecutor’s assertions that journalists were being questioned about media’s role in unrest in Mingachevir, the powerful presidential aide

Ali Hasanov told state media

the detentions were in fact related to mundane issues of journalistic accreditation.

“Meydan TV website and a number of other foreign media agencies and their employees do not follow the rules and are operating illegally in the country despite repeated warnings. And the recent detention of some foreign mass media representatives by law enforcement agencies is aimed at inviting them to adapt their activities to the rules for accreditation of foreign media outlets in Azerbaijan,” Hasanov told APA.

However, investigators never raised the issue of accreditation during questioning, Hasanov did not elaborate on which article of Azebaijan’s

law on mass media


criminal code

the journalists allegedly violated, and Meydan TV has never been contacted about accreditation.

As reported earlier, Meydan TV contributors Shirin Abbasov and Aytaj Akhmedova were also detained by the GDCOC on September 16. Akhmedova was released after five hours, and Abbasov was sentenced to 30 days of administrative detention for failing to comply with police instructions after thirty hours in custody at Baku’s notorious


– Baku’s answer to the Lyubanka Building.

Abbasov has not been seen or heard from in the five days since his disappearance, and it is not known where or in what conditions he is being held.

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