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IRFS chairman released after being detained for over two hours

(IRFS/IFEX) - On 12 June 2008 at about noon (local time), IRFS Chairman Emin Huseynov was detained in front of Azerbaijan's Presidential Administration building while observing, filming and photographing a picket.

Upon being released over two hours later, Huseynov recounted the events to IRFS. According to him, he was monitoring the protest with another IRFS employee when several people in civilian clothes approached him and yelled at him to stop filming the protest. Huseynov identified himself to the men; however, they refused to introduce themselves. At this point the men pushed Huseynov and accused him of illegally filming. When Huseynov demanded again that the men introduce themselves, one of the men pulled from his pocket an ID card from the State Defence Service. Then this same man gave an order for the other civilian-clothed representatives of the State Defence Service to detain Huseynov.

People in military apparel arrived soon thereafter. They confiscated Huseynov's ID card and accompanied him into the Presidential Administration building. Huseynov introduced himself to the men in military clothing and inquired about their names and ranks, but the men refused to respond.

Later someone named Elchin (or Elnur) Valiyev came and tried to question Huseynov. Valiyev asked Huseynov what secondary school and university he graduated from and also inquired about how IRFS is funded, its work principles, etc. However Huseynov refused to answer these questions, noting he was officially accused of nothing. He demanded that a protocol for an interrogation be written up or else he would not respond to these inquiries.

Valiyev then demanded that Huseynov delete the video footage he recorded. Huseynov did so, noting that nothing particularly important was on the footage. Copies were made of Huseynov's ID and then the card was returned to him.

Valiyev told Huseynov, "Don't ever come back here. If you come here one more time, the police will arrest you." With this, Huseynov was released at approximately 2:30 p.m.

Huseynov plans to send an appeal to Presidential Administration head Ramiz Medhiyev and State Defence Service Chief Vahid Akhundov, asking the two officials to investigate this incident and punish those people who have acted in contradiction of the law.

IRFS expresses its thanks to the diplomatic corps, local and international organisations, press and other people who expressed concern about Huseynov's detainment.

Updates the Huseynov case:

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