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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Reporter From Baku Detained

An Azeri journalist facing defamation charges at home was detained in Moscow and could face extradition, her lawyer said Tuesday.

Irada Huseynova worked for the Azeri newspaper Bakinsky Bulvar, which was shut down in September 2001 after a story she wrote accused Baku Mayor Gadzhibala Abutalybov and aides of corruption and compared the new fountains in the capital to toilets. The newspaper's founder, Elmar Huseynov, was fined 80 million manats ($17,400) and sentenced to six months in prison after the mayor sued the paper.

A court then filed defamation charges against Huseynov, Huseynova and the newspaper's editor. The charges can bring up to three years in prison.

Huseynova left Azerbaijan around the time the paper was shut down. She traveled to Warsaw for a conference, and appealed to U.S. Embassy officials there for political asylum, her colleagues said. Huseynova later settled in Moscow, where she has worked at the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations.

Police detained Huseynova in Moscow on Monday on the basis of a faxed request from an Azeri court, said Dmitry Kharitonov, her lawyer. He said that there was as yet no formal extradition demand from Azerbaijan, but Huseynov, the former Bakinsky Bulvar editor, said her name had been put on an international wanted list.

Huseynova has long irritated Azeri authorities. She was charged with libel in 1999 for suggesting President Haidar Aliyev's brother wielded significant influence in the Azeri gas station industry.