INSTITITE FOR REPORTERS` FREEDOM AND SAFETY STATEMENT

January 26th, 2010
The Institute for Reporters` Freedom and Safety condemns the expulsion of Poligon Information Agency (pia.az) editor and fourth year student of the “Oil Mechanics” faculty at Azerbaijan State Oil Academy Elmin Badalov from the University for his critical articles.

On 12 November 2009 Elmin Badalov published an article on pia.az website (“Reportage from Azerbaijan State Oil Academy) regarding bribe cases and financial fraud in the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy. Following this, a string of harassment began against the student/journalist. He was called to the dean’s office to be interrogated for his article. Eventually, Badalov failed his exams and course work. Several days ago he was expelled from the university following the order of the Rector. The student-journalist claims that he has been an exemplary student and his failures were related to his article.

IRFS recalls that a similar incident occurred with “Janub khabarlari” employee, Lankaran State University student Parviz Azimov. He was expelled from the University for writing a critical article regarding negative cases at the LSU. Then Azimov appealed to court and the court issued a decision to consider the decision to expel him unfounded and to restore him to the university.

IRFS notes that the subjection to harassment of Poligon Information Agency editor Elmin Badalov because of his articles contradicts article 47 (everyone has the right to expression and speech) of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan and article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on the Defense of Human Freedoms and Fundamental Freedoms.   

IRFS Poligon Information Agency editor Elmin Badalov declares that he was subjected to pressure for freely expressing his thoughts and calls on ASOA to restore him to the university.

In his appeal to IRFS, E.Badalov noted that he will pass the exams if a fair reexamination is held with the participation of the commission board. IRFS calls on the Ministry of Education to create conditions for E.Badalov’s reexamination so he can prove his claim and for the truth to emerge.