An anchor at the independent online Azerbaijani TV channel, Kanal 13, has been sentenced to 30 days of administrative arrest, a week after the channel’s founder was arrested.
Rufat Muradli was convicted on Monday of petty hooliganism and disobeying police. He was arrested on Saturday after an alleged altercation with police officers in Baku.
His lawyer, Nazim Musayev, stated that Muradli was detained following a verbal altercation with plainclothes police officers.
‘Something happened between them in this matter. Rufat resisted, and that’s why they detained him’, said Musayev.
Muradli is the second Kanal 13 journalist to be detained since the recent arrest of the station’s founder, Aziz Orujov, and the arrest of several members of AbzasMedia, another independent Azerbaijani news outlet.
Muradli is also a member of the Azerbaijan Democracy and Welfare party, whose chair, Gubad Ibadoghlu, has been in prison since August on charges of acquiring or printing counterfeit money.
Several members of Ibadoghlu’s party have been detained in the months following his arrest.
[Listen to the Caucasus Digest: Podcast | The arrest of Gubad Ibadoghlu]
The party’s deputy chair, Adalat Yusubov, dismissed the accusations levelled against Muradli as bogus.
‘The arrest of journalist and party member Rufat Muradli is an example of immorality, immorality, and lack of culture’, wrote Yusubov on Facebook.
‘This arrest is not only ordered but also political in nature. This arrest decision is aimed at limiting Rufat’s political activity and his activity as a journalist.’