Authorities arrested Gonagov, director of the regional TV channel Khayal, and Guliyev, Khayal’s chief editor, on charges of inciting mass disorder, local press reports said. Guliyev was also accused of abuse of office, the independent regional news website Kavkazsky Uzel reported. The charges stemmed from March riots in the northeastern city of Quba, which began when a video posted on YouTube showed a regional governor making insulting comments to local residents. Following the riots, the governor was ousted.
Authorities accused Guliyev and Gonagov of uploading the video and causing “mass unrest.” Both men denied the charges. They were placed in a Baku detention facility without access to defense lawyers; local media reports said they were tortured in custody. Authorities extended the journalists’ pretrial detention several times, arguing that investigators needed more time to bring a case to trial, news reports said. Guliyev faced up to 10 years in jail and Gonagov up to three years.