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Azerbaijan: Human rights defender Emin Huseynov in intensive care following a beating whilst in detention
Front Line is deeply concerned following reports of the arrest and ill-treatment of human rights defender Emin Huseynov, in Baku on 14 June 2008. Emin Huseynov is the Chairperson of the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS) and works to defend freedom of expression in Azerbaijan.
Posted 16/06/2008 On 14 June 2008, Emin Huseynov was arrested at the Alaturka Cafe in Baku whilst monitoring an event celebrating the 80th anniversary of the birth of the Cuban revolutionist Ernesto Che Guevarra. The peaceful event was raided by police from the 22nd police department of the Nasimi District of Baku. Twenty-one other people were also forcibly arrested at the event including two IRFS researchers, Rasim Aliyev and Mirrehim Hasanov. At the police station, after protesting against the photographing and fingerprinting of other detainees, Emin Huseynov was taken into a separate room by four police officers, and held for several minutes. One of the officers reportedly threatened to arrest, kill and bury him. In the separate room Emin Huseynov was struck on the back of the neck with a gun handle several times. An ambulance was called, after the police department had at first refused requests for one, and Emin Huseynov was taken to the Centralised Emergency Medical Assistance Hospital. He is currently in intensive care, having sustained head and brain trauma. He cannot walk and has difficulty eating and drinking, but is conscious and his condition is stable. Rasim Aliyev and Mirrehim Hasanov were released on that day too.
Emin Huseynov had previously been arbitrarily detained only days before this arrest. On 12 June 2008, he was detained and interrogated about the work of the IRFS after he had been observing and filming a peaceful demonstration outside the Presidential Administration Building in Baku.
Front Line believes that Emin Huseynov has been targeted as a result of his legitimate work in defence of human rights, in particular his work to defend freedom of expression in Azerbaijan. Front Line sees the arrest of Emin Huseynov, Rasim Aliyev and Mirrehim Hasanov as part of an ongoing trend of harassment against human rights defenders in Azerbaijan. Front Line is concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Emin Huseynov and all members of the IRFS.