Regional authorities in Lenkoran, southeastern Azerbaijan, arrested Dzhaniyev on allegations of insulting a local woman and transferred him to a Baku detention facility. Later, while Dzhaniyev was in pretrial detention, authorities also accused him of breaking windows at a Lenkoran mosque, news reports said. Dzhaniyev, a reporter with the independent daily Khural, denied the accusations.
On November 21, 2011, a regional court convicted Dzhaniyev of hooliganism and sentenced him to three years in jail, local press reports said. His appeal was denied. An independent investigation by local journalists, cited by the independent Azerbaijani news agency Turan, concluded that the charges came in reprisal for Dzhaniyev’s reporting on allegations that Lenkoran religious leaders were involved in drug trafficking.
CPJ has documented a pattern in which Azerbaijani authorities have filed retaliatory charges against critical journalists covering sensitive issues. CPJ has found those charges to be unsubstantiated.