authorities arrest journalist, editor of an online news platform [Updated September 22]

[Update] The General Prosecutor’s Office claims, journalist Avaz Zeynalli conspired with others in extortion according to reporting by Meydan TV. The journalist stands accused of collaborating with the head of Seda TV, Elnur Shukurov in getting permissions for land privatization in Baku and Sumgayit. Shukurov was arrested on September 15 on charges of unlawful influence on the decision of an official. The Prosecutor’s Office alleges that Shukurov, together with Zeynalli, exerted influence over executive authority office employees to grant permission for land privatization.

Seda TV,  is a relatively small YouTube channel, with just over 50k subscribers, and managed by Elnur Shukurov solely according to Turan News Agency.

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[Update] On September 16, during the court hearing, it was decided that the investigation can continue while Sadigov transferred under house arrest. 

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Avaz Zeynalli, is a journalist and editor of Khural newspaper. He was arrested on September 10 after a pro-government news platform falsely accused Zeynalli of extortion. The same platform also mentioned human rights lawyer Elchin Sadigov acting as an intermediary in the alleged scheme. As a result, Sadigov was also arrested along with Zeynalli. Police also searched and confiscated documents, and devices, of both Zeynalli and Sadigov. 

According to reports, Zeynalli was charged with “large-scale bribe-taking” and Sadigov with “complicity in bribe-taking.” Both are facing between 8 and up tp 12 years in prison if found guilty. 

Both Sadigov and Zeynalli were sentenced to four months in pre-trial detention. 

Zeynalli previously served three years behind bars on bogus bribery, extortion, and tax evasion charges. Sadigov is known for representing cases of political prisoners in Azerbaijan.