Azerbaijani journalist charged with spying for Armenia

A prominent Azeri journalist has been arrested after being deported from Turkey on accusations of meeting Armenian agents in three countries.

Rauf Mirkadyrov was detained in Baku and is now being investigated for espionage, said his lawyer, Fuad Agayev, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.

“Today I received a call from an investigator in the serious crimes department of the Prosecutor-General’s office, Ibrahim Lemberanski,” he said.

“He said that Mirkadyrov is accused of state treason. I asked what specific form of state treason and the investigator answered: ‘espionage.’”

Mirkadyrov is the politics correspondent of the independent Russian-language newspaper Zerkalo, or Mirror, which is published in Azerbaijan.

He was based in Ankara for the last few years while continuing to write for the paper. He published articles that were critical of both the Turkish and Azeri leadership.

Zerkalo newspaper said in a statement posted on its website that Turkey had canceled Mirkadyrov’s accreditation as a journalist and deported him after ordering him to leave the country. Mirkadyrov is “one of the country’s best political analysts,” it said, adding that his family remained in Turkey.

It said the reason for Mirkadyrov’s deportation was unclear and the newspaper had not received a response from the Turkish Embassy in Azerbaijan.

The journalist is being held in the detention center of the national security ministry and cannot receive a lawyer’s visit until April 22, Agayev added.

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