Freelance journalist Ahmed Mukhtar, a contributor to Index on Censorship magazine, was detained at 7pm Friday 18 September in Azerbaijan, according to Contact.az.
Mukhtar’s brother, Elnur, works with Berlin-based Meydan.TV. His detention is the latest in a string of arrests of family members of contributors to Meydan.tv
“Ahmed Mukhtar is an extremely talented and courageous Azerbaijani photojournalist, whom I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with through the Art for Democracy campaign. He is one of very few left in the country willing to capture risky subject matter like human rights abuses. His detention comes just one day after the detention of another young journalist, Abbas Shirin, also known for his photography, including his coverage of the recent trials of human rights defenders Leyla and Arif Yunus and journalist Khadija Ismayilova. Now it seems that even photographing people the Azerbaijani authorities have previously targeted is enough to land someone in jail”, said Rebecca Vincent, coordinator of the Sport for Rights campaign and former advocacy director of Art for Democracy, a creative campaign that ceased operations in August 2014 when authorities arrested its coordinator, human rights defender Rasul Jafarov.
Mukhtar was later released, according to a tweet from Vincent.
Update: #Azerbaijan photojournalist Ahmed Mukhtar has been released.
— Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent) September 18, 2015
Over the weekend, founder of Meydan.TV Emin Milli reported that three more journalists were detained and questioned before being released.
— Emin Milli (@eminmilli) September 19, 2015
On Thursday 17 September, Meydan.tv contributor Shirin Abbasov was sentenced to 30 days in jail “for disobeying the police after nearly thirty hours in custody,” according to Meydan.tv.
The Sport for Rights Coalition condemned Azerbaijan’s moves against journalists and independent media.
This article was updated on 21 September.