authorities arrest journalist, editor of an online news platform [Updated February 26, 2024]

[Update] On February 26, Zeynalli was sentenced to nine years behind bars, while Shukurov received a four-year sentence.  

[Update] On January 5, the Baku Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the December 29 court decision [see previous updates below]. According to the appellate court’s ruling, releasing Zeynalli under house arrest would interrupt the course of the investigation, reported Meydan TV on January 6, 2023.

[Update] On December 29, 2022, a local court in Baku ruled to extend the detention period of journalist Zeynalli for another three months, reported Meydan TV. Zeynalli’s lawyer said they will be appealing the decision. 

[Update] According to reporting by Meydan TV, The General Prosecutor’s Office claims that journalist Avaz Zeynalli conspired with others in extortion. The journalist is accused of collaborating with the head of Seda TV, Elnur Shukurov, in getting permission 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 and Zeynalli exerted influence over executive authority office employees to grant permission for land privatization.

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


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


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 that human rights lawyer Elchin Sadigov acted as an intermediary in the alleged scheme. As a result, Sadigov was also arrested along with Zeynalli. Police also searched and confiscated the 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 to 12 years in prison if found guilty. 

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

Zeynalli served three years behind bars on bogus bribery, extortion, and tax evasion charges (between 2013 and 2016). Sadigov is known for representing cases of political prisoners in Azerbaijan.