BAKU, Azerbaijan -- Authorities in Azerbaijan said on Tuesday that one of the country's leading players, Javid Huseynov, is among six people arrested in connection with the death of a journalist who criticised him.
Rasim Aliyev died in hospital on Sunday, a day after receiving a severe beating. According to Azerbaijani media, Aliyev said he had been attacked after going to meet a man who had introduced himself by telephone as Huseynov's cousin and offered to discuss Aliyev's criticism of the player.
Aliyev had criticised Huseynov in a Facebook post as "ignorant and unable to behave himself" and unsuitable to represent Azerbaijan in Europe. Aliyev accused him of insulting behavior after a Europa League game on Thursday, in which Huseynov scored the winning goal for Azerbaijan's Qabala FK at home to Apollon Limassol of Cyprus.
In a joint statement on Tuesday, Azerbaijani police and prosecutors said Huseynov, an Azerbaijan international, was among six people arrested in connection with the death. He is accused of covering up a serious crime and failing to inform authorities.
The death of Aliyev is being investigated under a law against "the deliberate inflicting of serious damage to health, leading to the death of the injured party." Authorities say the country's president is being personally informed of developments in the case.
The 27-year-old Huseynov is captain of Qabala FK and a regular for the national team. He last played for Azerbaijan in June in a European Championship qualifier against Norway.
"No one has the right to threaten anyone or to use violence. The club always keeps to these principles," Qabala FK said in a statement on Sunday, adding that Huseynov was "suspended from the first team until this case is resolved."