Seymur Hazi, Azadliq
Medium:Print, Internet
Imprisoned:August 29, 2014

Police in the eastern Absheron district arrested Hazi, who also uses the name Haziyev, a reporter for the opposition newspaper Azadliq, on August 29 after accusing him of hooliganism and alleging that he had attacked a man at a bus stop, the independent regional news website Kavkazsky Uzel reported. The day after his arrest, the Absheron District Court ordered the journalist to be imprisoned for two months pending trial, the report said. He was charged with hooliganism.

At the trial in Absheron District Court on November 11, the journalist's lawyer requested that the judge be disqualified because authorities continued to hold Hazi even though his pretrial detention had expired, Kavkazsky Uzel reported. The judge denied the request.

Authorities said that while waiting for a bus on his way to work, Hazi attacked and beat a Baku resident named Magerram Hasanov, according to the Kavkazsky Uzel report.

Hazi said in court that he had scuffled with Hasanov, but in self-defense, Kavkazsky Uzel reported. He said Hasanov insulted and attacked him. Elton Guliyev, the journalist's lawyer, told Kavkazsky Uzel that he believed authorities had orchestrated the altercation because the police arrived just moments after it started. Guliyev said he believed that Hazi had been imprisoned in retaliation for his journalism.

Hazi's trial was ongoing in late 2014.

Hazi often criticized the Azerbaijani government's domestic and foreign policies in his reports for Azadliq, according to Kavkazsky Uzel. As a host for Azadliq's online TV program "Azerbaijan Saati" (Azerbaijani Hour), he was critical of government corruption and human rights abuses in the country.

Guliyev told Kavkazsky Uzel that authorities did not explain why they had jailed Hazi instead of implementing other, less harsh sanctions against him. He is being held at Baku Investigative Prison No. 1 outside Baku, which is widely known as the Kurdakhani pre-trial detention facility.

Authorities arrested Hasanov, the other participant in the altercation, a few days later, but put him under house arrest. When the journalist requested similar treatment, the court refused, news reports said. Hasanov has since been jailed again, local media reported.

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