Zakir Garalov, the General Prosecutor of the Republic of Azerbaijan, responded to questions put forward in the European Parliament’s December 15th, 2011 resolution regarding the death of Azerbaijani writer and publicist Rafig Tagi.
Rafig Tagi survived an assassination attempt on November 19th, receiving 7 stab wounds. However, on November 23rd, the 61 year old died in the hospital. A criminal case has been launched regarding the case, but no suspects have been named.
Garalov stated that the investigation is continuing based on the criminal case launched under the Article 120.1 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan. He added that safety measures are being taken to protect the house of Rafig Tagi’s family, the cemetery where he has been buried, and the house of Samir Huseynov, the editor-in-chief of Sanat newspaper.
Samir Huseynov was arrested in 2006 for publishing Tagi’s article “Europe and Us”.
Rafig Tagi was arrested on November 15th, 2006 for his article “Europe and Us”, originally published in Sanat newspaper. He was criticized for insulting the Prophet Muhammad and for preferring Christian values to Islamic ones. He was sentenced to 3 years in jail under Article 283.1 of the Criminal Code for the incitement of national, racial, or religious hatred. He was released under a presidential pardon in December of 2007. At that time, representatives from the ruling Young Azerbaijan Party said that part of the reason for his arrest was to save him from further harm at the hands of extremists.
At that time, Ayatollah Uzma Fazil Lankarani issued a fatwa sentencing Tagi to death.
On November 27th, 2011 Ayatollah Uzma Fazil Lankarani’s son from Iran and Ayatollah Sheikh Muhammad Lankarani made statements welcoming the murder of Rafig Tagi.