June 23rd, 2008

“Baku Zaman” newspaper’s regional correspondent in the southern part of Azerbaijan Rahib Hashimov reported to the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety that he was threatened by Malakram Mirzayev, Chief Deputy of Lankaran Regional Energy Sale Department.

“Approximately three weeks ago I wrote an article entitled ‘Family Ensemble in the Regional Energy Sale Department’.  I wrote about the lack of professionalism and nepotism occurring within the department’s leadership. I returned to Lankaran after this article was published. RESD chief deputy Malakram Mirzayev contacted me via telephone and invited me to the department. He demanded that I publish a refutation and reveal the source. Citing the law, I refused. A little while later I contacted Malakram Mirzayev concerning a blackout in the center of the region. He asked me whether I published a refutation or not. When I said I didn’t, he started threatening me using words like ‘You don’t know me well. I can make you disappear, I can kill you’. Immediately after the incident I appealed to Lankaran Region Prosecutor’s office. And the Prosecutor’s Office sent my appeal to Lankaran City Police Department to be considered,” said Hashimov and added that he hopes this case will be investigated objectively.

“What he wrote about us doesn’t conform to reality. For this reason, I invited him to our office and asked him to learn our opinion when he writes about us,” Malakram Mirzayev told this to the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety. According to Mirzayev, he didn’t threaten Hashimov. Therefore Mizayev, is preparing to appeal to law enforcement organs about the journalist. “He is defaming us. Let the law enforcement organs investigate it and bring the truth to light.”