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Three journalists detained for 12 hours

(IRFS/IFEX) - 27 March 2012 - On March 26, the director of the Baku Information Agency, Sudeyf Mejidov, the agency's executive director, Vasif Sadikhbayli, and operator Ilham Rasulzade were detained by Salyan district police for filming the illegal collection of bribes at a radar checkpoint.

Sadikhbeyli reported that he, Mejidov, and Rasulzade traveled to Salyan to investigate reports that persons in plain clothes had been installing radar devices on the main road and collecting money from drivers.

Sadikhbeyli informed the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety about the incident on March 27th:

“We went to Salyan to see whether that information was true or not, and saw that it was true. We started to film the plain-clothed men stopping cars and demanding money from the drivers near the radars. Having seen this, the men approached us and asked whether we had permission to film. Then they called the Salyan Police Office. The police came and took us to the police station. I'd like to note that, we were able to remove the cassette from the camera by the time they approached us. After keeping us for 12 hours they returned our equipment and released us. We had called the 102 police hotline and provided information about the incident.”

Ehsan Zahidov, the deputy head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs' mass media service, said that he had no information about the incident and that he could not take proper measures until being fully informed about the incident.

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