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17 September marked 40 days since the death of former IRFS Chairman and Board member Rasim Aliyev. Today, the journalist’s friends and relatives visited his grave.
Forty days after the journalist’s death, the doctors alleged to bear responsibility for his death have not been formally charged with either criminal or administrative responsibility. There has been little public information on the case.
The late journalist is represented by lawyer Asabali Mustafayev.
Rasim Aliyev was attacked near his house on 8 August by a group of seven or eight men, who were relatives and friends of Gabala football team player Javid Huseynov. Aliyev was brutally assaulted and died later in hospital on 9 August, after giving an interview to Meydan TV journalists. He was first hit in the ear and after falling on the ground was kicked multiple times.
Baku City Prosecutor’s Office has launched a criminal case under Article 126.3 of the Criminal Code (deliberate causing of serious harm to health, resulting in the death of the victim). Javid Huseynov’s cousin Elshan Ismayilov, Jamal Mammadov, Arif Aliyev, Kanan Madatov and Samir Mustafayev have been arrested. Javid Huseynov himself has been detained for three months under articles 307.1 (failure to inform authorities about a serious crime, despite of being aware of its preparation or committal) and 307.2 (concealment of a serious crime without a prior promise).
The apparent origin of the assault was an interview on 6 August given by Huseynov after the Gabala-Apollo (Cyprus) match of the third qualification round of the Europe League. According to media representatives, Huseynov called on the journalists who had criticised his obscene gesture during the match to take a blood test, implying that his detractors were of Armenian descent – a slur often used in Azerbaijan, which remains locked in a frozen conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Huseynov then behaved disrespectfully towards a Cypriot journalist, who asked him why he had raised a Turkish flag. As well as telling him in English, “Turks are my friends”, Huseynov made an obscene hand gesture, captured on camera.
Sharing this on his Facebook page, Rasim Aliyev posted: “I don’t want such an immoral and ill-mannered footballer, who is unable to control himself, to represent me in European stadiums.” Javid Huseynov and his relatives subsequently telephoned called Aliyev, and Javid’s cousin invited him to a meeting. The assault of Rasim Aliyev, who went to the meeting alone, was fully recorded by a CCTV camera.
Rasim Aliyev had been a member of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety since its establishment in 2006. After IRFS Chairman Emin Huseynov was forced to go into hiding to avoid groundless criminal prosecution last August, Aliyev was elected chairman of the organisation. The Ministry of Justice was officially informed about the change of IRFS chairman. Although Aliyev was not actually working for IRFS – because all projects were halted due to the suspension of organisational bank accounts – he remained the chairman of IRFS until his death.