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Police briefly detain, demand written explanation from journalist for taking photographs near Russian embassy

(IRFS/IFEX) - At approximately 4:00 p.m. (local time) on 9 August 2008, "Yeni Musavat" newspaper correspondent Afgan Mukhtarli was detained by police officers from the Nasimi District Police Department. He was held for two hours and released at approximately 6:00 p.m.

"Today, a group of members of Azerbaijan's European Integration Commission presented an appeal to the Russian Embassy in Azerbaijan protesting the Russian Federation's military actions in Georgia," Mukhtarli told IRFS. "This appeal was accepted by the first deputy ambassador. After these people left the meeting, about 70 meters away from the embassy, I was interviewing them and photographing them. At this point, the police came up to me and told me I couldn't take photos. They took me to police department number 20. I was then taken to police department number 21."

According to Mukhtarli, the police are demanding an explanation from him in writing. However, the journalist claims he was illegally detained and refuses to write the explanation.

"They tell me I took a picture of the embassy," Mukhtarli told IRFS in a telephone call before he was released. "But there are no parts of the embassy in any of my photos. Now they say that if I don't write an explanation, they will take me to the Ministry of National Security and interrogate me there."

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