Azerbaijan arrests fourth independent journalist in a week

  • World
  • Tuesday, 28 Nov 2023

BAKU (Reuters) - Police in Azerbaijan on Tuesday arrested Aziz Orujev, head of the Kanal 13 internet television channel, the fourth independent journalist to be arrested in the country in a week.

Orujev's lawyer said that he had been charged with building without permission, and faces between one and three years in prison. He said that Orujev denies the charges, and considers them linked to his journalistic work.

Last week, three employees at Abzas Media, an independent online outlet known for investigative reporting, were arrested and charged with smuggling.

Police said they had found 40,000 euros ($43,788) in the outlet's Baku offices. Two of the three detainees deny the charges, while the third has yet to plead.

International press freedom groups have demanded the release of the Abzas Media staff, describing their arrest as an attempt by the authorities to silence their anti-corruption reporting. The organisation Reporters without Borders (RSF) ranks Azerbaijan as 151st out of 180 countries in its World Press Freedom Index.

Azerbaijan's Interior Ministry declined to comment.

($1 = 0.9135 euros)

(Reporting by Nailia Bagirova in Baku; Writing by Felix Light in Tbilisi; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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