OSCE Representative alarmed by brutal attack on journalist in Azerbaijan

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today said she was alarmed by yesterday’s violent attack on journalist Ilgar Nasibov in Nakhichevan, Azerbaijan.

“I call on the authorities to conduct a swift and thorough investigation of this brutal attack on Nasibov and bring those responsible to justice,” Mijatović said. “This criminal act has an enormous chilling effect on free expression and free media and it could inspire future crimes against members of the media.”

Nasibov, a journalist actively contributing to several media outlets in Azerbaijan, including Turan News Agency and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, was assaulted on 21 August by a number of individuals in his office at the Resource Centre for Development of NGOs and Democracy in Nakhichevan. Nasibov sustained serious injuries, including concussion, broken cheekbones, nose and ribs. He is still in a very critical condition and receiving medical treatment at the hospital. The attackers also smashed and destroyed property and office equipment.

Nasibov has been prosecuted, threatened and physically attacked several times in the past. In December 2007, he was arrested and convicted to a one-year suspended sentence for libel charges. In July 2011, Nasibov, together with other journalists, was assaulted and briefly detained by the police. Both issues were raised by the Representative with the Azerbaijani authorities.

Following a recent crackdown on free media voices in Azebaijan, Mijatović also expressed concern about continuing harassment of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS). In addition to frozen bank accounts and confiscation of property earlier this month, the IRFS office was closed by law enforcement authorities and its staff is now being interrogated (see www.osce.org/fom/122481 and www.osce.org/fom/122389).

“This ongoing persecution of independent journalists, media activists and freedom of expression advocates must stop immediately. The authorities in Azerbaijan have to do their utmost to stop these practices,” Mijatović said.

Mijatović said that her Office was ready to support Azerbaijan in fulfilling its media freedom commitments and that a visit to Baku in the near future would help address these issues.

Fatal error: Uncaught Error: Call to undefined function echo_views() in /var/www/u0580679/data/www/aidhr.org/wp-content/themes/wpherald_lite/single.php:29 Stack trace: #0 /var/www/u0580679/data/www/aidhr.org/wp-includes/template-loader.php(106): include() #1 /var/www/u0580679/data/www/aidhr.org/wp-blog-header.php(19): require_once('/var/www/u05806...') #2 /var/www/u0580679/data/www/aidhr.org/index.php(17): require('/var/www/u05806...') #3 {main} thrown in /var/www/u0580679/data/www/aidhr.org/wp-content/themes/wpherald_lite/single.php on line 29