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Website editor detained, tortured, lawyer says

UPDATE: Azadxeber website editor may face new charges (IRFS, 21 September 2012)

(IRFS/IFEX) – 28 May 2012 - The editor of a news website who has been detained since 20 May on spurious drug charges claims he was tortured in police custody.

Nijat Aliyev, the editor-in-chief of www.azadxeber.az, was beaten and tortured by officers at the Yasamal District Police Office after he was arrested, his lawyer, Anar Gasimli, told the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS) today.

“They tortured Aliyev in such a way that no mark of torture was left on his body. They condemned him for his frequent articles about LGBT issues on www.azadxeber.az,” Gasimli said.

According to the lawyer, officers also tried to blackmail Aliyev, telling him that if he did not admit to drug-related charges, he could face more than five years in jail under more serious charges. They also warned him that they could plant drugs in his apartment, which would put his family members at risk, Gasimli said, adding that they intended to take legal action regarding the case.

On 20 May at 7:20pm, Aliyev was detained in front of Killer menswear shop near Memar Ajami metro station in Baku and taken to Yasamal District Police Office #27. He was charged under Article 234.1 (Illegal manufacture, purchase, storage, transportation, transfer or sale of narcotics/psychotropic substances) and sentenced to two months' pre-trial detention.

Aliyev is currently being held in Kurdakhani investigative prison.

MORE INFORMATION: Pre-trial detention of Nijat Aliyev extended for two months (IRFS, 16 August 2012)
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