IRFS chairman to file a complaint against police brutality

January 14th, 2013

 

On January 14th, the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) held a briefing to discuss police brutality against rights defenders and media during the January 12th protest over the deaths of young conscripts in the Azerbaijani army. According to IRFS chairman Emin Huseynov up to ten journalists, including Huseynov himself, faced police violence during the protest. Huseynov showed a video to briefing participants, which displayed illegal actions of police officers. Specifally, the video documents how policeman deliberately pushed Huseynov, who was clearly identifiable because of his photo camera and press jacket. Huseynov was thrown to the ground; he fell and hit the back of his head on a stone. Huseynov, a well-known media figure and freedom of expression advocate, is sure that the policeman deliberately pushed him towards the stone to endanger his life. Luckily, Huseynov avoided a severe head injury. Huseynov, who apparently suffered a minor head injury, is now seeking medical treatment. ‘This is not the first time a police officer has told me to stop taking pictures,’ says Huseynov. ‘I explained that I was entitled to do my job and assumed I would be allowed to continue. Instead I found myself on the ground with a bad pain in my head and neck’. IRFS Chair intends to file a complaint to Ministry of Interior, with the request of launching a criminal case against police officials who deliberately attacked him. In case of Ministry of Interior fails to investigate the case and punish those responsible, Huseynov will take the matter to the law court. Media Rights Institute director Rashid Hajili assessed the case as a serious legal violation. ‘This action constitutes both damage to health and humiliation of honor and dignity, which allows you to demand compensation for both material and psychological damages”. According to IREX lawyer Alasgar Mammadli, this is an open and deliberate pressure on a journalist, which necessitates the launch of a criminal case under Article 163 of the Criminal Code (impeding lawful professional activities of a journalist).