Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
Dutch journalist already jailed for more than half a year in Ukraine
In Ukraine, the Dutch-Azeri journalist Fikret Huseynli has been in prison for more than half a year. He was arrested on 14 October last year at the request of Azerbaijan, which wants his extradition for … illegal crossing of the border. Huseynli fled from Azerbaijan and says that that country wants to arrest him because of his critical reporting.
Earlier this month, a court in Kiev ruled that he can not be extradited and that he must be able to go where he wants. But even before the verdict, his Dutch passport had been taken away, confirms the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague. A spokesman said that there is regular contact with him and that the Netherlands “on a high political level” emphasizes that he has refugee status and that the Netherlands disapproves of extradition. At the same time, the ministry says it can not “enter into legal proceedings of other countries”.
Huseynli fled from Azerbaijan in 2008 and received political asylum in the Netherlands. In Azerbaijan, Huseynli worked for the newspaper Azadlyg. Two years before he fled, he had been attacked by masked men. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms that the journalist was granted refugee status and now has Dutch nationality.
Huseynli runs the Azerbaijani online news organization Turan in Amsterdam, which is critical of the government of Azerbaijan. He was in Ukraine in October to investigate whether a local department of Turan could be opened. Because Azerbaijan had put him on a list of police organization Interpol, he was arrested in Ukraine. Huseynli says that Azerbaijan is out to shut him up.
At the end of October, two weeks after his arrest, a court in Kiev ruled that Huseynli could be released on bail, but he had to stay in the country for two months. After that time a decision was supposed to be taken on extradition. Since then, this term has been extended twice, Huseynli said last month in conversation with the international journalist organization Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Recently, on April 2, the court ruled that he can not be extradited, but the public prosecutor refuses to give him his passport back and wants a new session to impose new restrictions on him, the Kyiv Post, an English-language newspaper in Kiev, says.
Attacked in apartment
Huseynli is also being intimidated in Ukraine. The CPJ writes on its site that on March 5 he was attacked by strangers in the apartment he is renting in Kiev. According to the Dutchman, his assailants spoke Ukrainian and Azeri. He was beaten up and worked against the ground. The CPJ calls on Ukraine to investigate the incident and give Huseynli his passport back so that he can leave the country.
The international journalist organization Reporters sans Frontières (RSF, Reporters without Borders) has also called for the release of Huseynli. The organization also speaks of a political matter and emphasizes that Azerbaijan in terms of freedom of press 162 is on a list of 180 countries. The country violates press freedom in a crude way, according to RSF.
The Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is establishing a database of the public activities, “sentiments” and personal information of hundreds of thousands of news publications, journalists, bloggers and “media influencers” around the world. The project was revealed in an April 3 notice on the governmental Federal Business Opportunities website requesting proposals from private contractors to administer the project: here.
Update: Huseynli has been freed.
South Asia the most dangerous part of the world for journalists, press freedom campaigners warn: here.
Nazi Salutes and Fascist Chic Put Ukraine’s Jews on Edge: here.
The New York Times and the [Babchenko] murder [in Ukraine] that wasn’t: here.