On May 13, editors Afgan Sadigov, from AzelTV and Sakit Muradov, from Xeberfakt.az were reportedly arrested on charges of extortion. The two were allegedly caught during operation.
According to a statement issued by the Prosecutor General office, both men demanded a total of 15,000AZN from the officials at Sumgayit City Executive power in an exchange for not running a series of stories on their respective websites. The statement claims, both journalists were caught having received 10,000AZN.
If found guilty, both journalists are facing up to ten years in jail.
Previously Sadigov was arrested in November 2016 on charges of hooliganism. He was sentenced to two and a half years in jail in January 2017. Sadigov was released in May 2018.
The same year, Sadigov was sentenced to 30 days in administrative detention for allegedly disobeying police orders. Upon his release, Sadigov said he was innocent and that he was tortured in detention. At the time, the Ministry of the Interior did not comment.
In November 2018 Sadigov was sentenced once again to a month in prison on charges of disobeying police and/or military officer.
Sadigov is known for his criticism of the government in his social media posts and statements. Ahead of this recent arrest, Sadigov reportedly shared a story about rape which was refuted by the Prosecutor General.