June 19th, 2008

Agil Khalil was turned back from Heydar Aliyev Airport this morning, as he attempted to leave Azerbaijan for France.

Khalil had the appropriate invitation and Schengen visa.

“Azadlig” Newspaper Director Azer Ahmedov told the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety, “Agil was at the airport at 4 a.m. He passed the Customs and Border Guard posts without any problems. However, one person in civilian clothes took Agil’s passport, went into a room and called someone. After about a half hour phone conversation, the person gave Agil back his passport and said that until his trials are finished he cannot leave the country.”

Khalil was also turned away when he attempted to leave the country several times in May. After this, Khalil filed lawsuits in the Nasimi District Court against the Department to Investigate Grave Crimes of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office and the State Border Service, however these lawsuits were not accepted for consideration.

Ahmedov said Khalil’s lawyer Elchin Sadigov is not in the country, but when he returns, the lawsuits were be reintroduced to the courts. “I don’t believe there could be any mistakes in documents prepared by a professional lawyer like Elchin Sadigov.

Recall that on 22 February 2008 Agil Khalil was beaten in "Zeytun Baglari" (Olive Gardens) by two people from the National Security Ministry while he was reporting, on 13 March he was stabbed in the chest and in early May it was reported that someone tried to push him into the path of an oncoming subway car and then tried to kidnap him.