Azerbaijani journalists and activists face increased intimidation, threats and assaults in their work as elections scheduled next year draw near. Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)expresses alarm over recent incidents of intimidation directed against award-winning journalist Idrak Abbasov.
Idrak Abbasov’s spouse has alleged that her family is being under surveillance by unknown groups. According to Mrs. Abbasov, on November 30th several men were seen to be filming the house, where Idrak and his family live. When Mrs. Abbasov asked the three men why they were doing so, the men got into their car with plate number 90-XG-707 and drove away.
The government should investigate this case and bring the real culprits to book, says IRFS."We hold authorities responsible for the safety and well-being of all journalists and urge them to investigate all reported threats’, says IRFS Chair Emin Huseynov.
Abbasov appealed to President IlhamAliyev, National Security Minister EldarMahmudov, Prosecutor General ZakirGaralov, Interior Minister RamilUsubov, local and foreign media workers, human rights activists, as well as foreign diplomatic missions accredited in Azerbaijan, and asked them to deal with the potential threats to his family’s and his own lives.
“Please, help me and my family to live and work safely in our country” stressed Abbasov.
Abbasov also reported the incident to the Interior Ministry emergency hotline 102.
Abbasov says: “I am concerned about the safety of my family and my relatives. I am sick and stay in bed. I don’t let my children go out. Some evils actions are planned against us. My family is really scared”.
According to Abbasov, the provocative actions followed the SOCAR president Rovnag Abdullayev’s interview with BBC correspondent where Abdullayev said he had strong facts against journalist.
Abbasov plans to sue the SOCAR president for slandering and blackmailing him. The lawsuit is being prepared by lawyer Khalid Bagirov.