The editor of the Talyshi Sado newspaper and author of the viral "Come On, Get Out of Here" video that inspired an anti-Putin Twitter trend has been arrested in Baku.
Khilal Mamedov was detained for possessing heroin in a move Azerbaijan's Institute for Peace and Democracy said was a form of pressure on civil society and relatives called politically motivated.
"Khilal Mamedov had authority among the Talysh minority, and officially Baku doesn't favor them," Institute head Leila Yunus said, Radio Azadlyg reported. Yunus added that after the death of the paper's previous editor in a prison hospital, Mamedov is now the most influential leader among the minority group.
But Azerbaijan Interior Ministry deputy spokesperson Ekhsan Zaidov told RIA-Novosti the arrest had no connection to the video.
Police confirmed Friday that Mamedov had been arrested with 5.8 grams of heroin, while another 28.3 grams were discovered at his residence. Police have opened a criminal investigation, and Mamedov could face from three to 12 years in prison.
The Talyshi Sado newspaper is published in the Talysh language, a Persian-related tongue spoken by a minority in southern Azerbaijan and northern Iran. The paper's previous editor was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in jail for spying for Iran, dying in a prison hospital two years later, Azerbaijan's Media Forum news site said.
Last month, a video posted to YouTube showing a group of men performing a traditional Meyhana, a type of freestyle rap performed in time to a rhythmic beat, quickly went viral. The men repeat the words, "Who are you, come on, get out of here," in Russian.
Opposition leaders took up the refrain on Twitter, tweaking it slightly to say "Putin, who are you, come on, get out of here." A Russian-language hashtag with the words gained widespread attention after trending worldwide.
The video was shot in the Astara region in the southern tip of Azerbaijan on the border with Iran, and the men sing in a mix of Russian, Azeri and the local Talysh language.
The video currently has more than 3.2 million views.