A man caught on camera cutting the rope holding up a Turkish flag in Baku has been arrested following a manhunt by police.
Footage of the incident spread on social media last week showed the man bringing down the flag near the Gara Garayev metro station in Baku before walking on.
On Sunday, Interior Ministry spokesman Elshad Hajiyev announced they had arrested Fuad Ismayilov, born in 1985, who had ‘disrespected the State Flag of the brotherly Republic of Turkey’.
Ismayilov was detained following ‘urgent search operations’, Hajiyev said.
‘He confessed in his initial statement. Relevant investigations are underway’, he added.
It is unclear what charges Ismayilov now faces. Lawyer Fariz Namazli told OC Media that ‘throwing another country’s flag on the ground’ was not a criminal offense in Azerbaijan.
‘If there was any crime, during the war, people would tie the Armenian flag behind their cars and drag it along the ground, and no action would be taken against them.’
‘The Criminal Code of Azerbaijan contains rules regulating only conduct towards the state flag and state attributes of Azerbaijan’, he said
‘Looking at the video, it seems that the perpetrator did not commit any act which damaged any property or caused public concern.’
‘I think that administrative sanctions will most likely be imposed.’
Ismayilov previously came to public attention for writing ‘Fu Mazi’ (shoo vMazi) in front of the Central Election Commission during the 2020 parliamentary elections, referring to the Commission’s head, Mazahir Panahov.
He was arrested less than a month later and sentenced to 60 days in prison for ‘acquisition of drugs for consumption’.