Sadygov, the founder and chief editor of regional news website Azel, was arrested outside the eastern city of Jalilabad on November 22, 2016, on charges of aggravated assault. On January 12, 2017, a court in Jalilabad sentenced the journalist to 2.5 years in prison. A court of appeals upheld the verdict on May 25, 2017.
Sadygov reported on corruption allegations in the local administration for Azel, and managed the Facebook page "Our Jalilabad" on which he often criticized local authorities.
The charge relates to an incident on August 9, 2016, when the head of the city's executive branch, Aziz Azizov, summoned the journalist to the city administration, according to local and international media reports. Azizov allegedly asked the journalist to remove his critical reports and allegedly offered him money to cease reporting, his lawyer Elchin Sadygov (no relation) told the independent regional news website Kavkazsky Uzel.
Afghan Sadygov refused the offer and left the office. In the hallway of the building, he was attacked and punched by a woman who then filed a complaint against him, according to news reports citing his lawyer and family.
The journalist was charged with assault, according to the Azerbaijani service of the U.S.-government funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Sadygov's mother, Ulnisa, told Kavkazsky Uzel that the accusations against her son were related to his journalism. "My son has managed this website for many years practically alone. He covered issues related to lawlessness, injustice. He was warned and requested to stop criticizing local authorities in his reports. They wanted him to write only praising articles but my son refused," she said.
Ulnisa Sadygova told Kavkazsky Uzel that police tortured the journalist but did not specify what had allegedly happened to him. She said that her requests to visit the journalist were denied.
Sadygov is being held at Prison No. 17 in Baku. The lawyer told CPJ in late 2017 that Sadygov has health issues, but did not specify the ailments.