Five Years Since Journalist Rafig Tagi’s Death

November 23rd, 2016

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23 November marked the five-year anniversary of the death of journalist Rafig Tagi, who died mysteriously in hospital four days after being targeted in a brutal knife attack.

Journalist and writer Rafig Tagi was stabbed by an unknown assailant at a bus stop late in the evening of 19 November 2011. After four days of treatment in Clinical Medical Centre No.1, Tagi’s health suddenly declined on 23 November 2011. The journalist was transferred from his hospital ward to the intensive care unit, but doctors were unable to save him.

The Serious Crimes Investigation Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office launched a criminal investigation into Tagi’s death. A year later, on 9 November 2012, journalist’s lawyer Elchin Sadigov told the press that before his death Tagi had complained of pains and been injected with an unknown substance.

However, the Prosecutor General’s Office rejected this report as contradictory to the criminal case materials. “Numerous investigative measures have been implemented in the criminal case; more than 180 people have been questioned as either victims or witnesses; and almost a dozen comprehensive forensic examinations have been ordered and relevant opinions obtained. In addition, the doctors of the first aid station who brought Rafig Tagi to the Clinical Medical Centre, as well as the medical staff involved in his treatment, have been interrogated. The recordings from 43 CCTV cameras located along the travel route of the deceased on the day of incident and the day before have been studied; only four of those cameras, belonging to two facilities, were not working due to technical problems. The results of the forensic medical examination demonstrated that Rafig Tagi’s death was caused by the knife wounds he sustained. In addition to the above, petitions submitted to the investigating authority by Rafig Tagi’s legal heir M. Tagiyeva and the latter’s legal representative E. Sadigov requesting implementation of separate investigative actions have been examined in accordance with the criminal procedure law and relevant decisions have been made,” stated the Prosecutor’s Office.

The Serious Crimes Investigation Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office, the state body in charge of the murder investigation, decided to stop the proceedings on the criminal case on 8 January 2014. An appeal filed against this decision was denied.

IRFS has been told by Elchin Sadigov that the Prosecutor General’s Office has suspended the criminal proceedings and ended the investigation. On 20 November 2014, Elchin Sadigov submitted a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights, based on violations of Articles 2 (Right to life ), 6 (right to a fair trial) and 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.