INSTITUTE FOR REPORTERS’ FREEDOM AND SAFETY STATEMENT

October 29th, 2011
The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety strongly condemns the deputy head of the Interior Ministry’s Press Service, Ehsan Zahidov’s, threat against Habil Valiyev, the editor-in-chief of Gundelik Baku newspaper.

The threats are related to an article reporting on unprofessionalism bordering on anarchy in Zagatala District Police Office published in the October 26th, 2011 edition of the newspaper. Following the article, Zahidov called Khural’s editorial office and later demanded that the newspaper publish a retraction on the article. When Habil Valiyev returned the phone call, asking for clarification on certain details, Zahidov threatened the editor saying, “the brains of journalists like you should be torn out so that you don’t confuse society with libel-filled articles.”
The next day, Zahidov clarified for the press that he meant that “the brains of journalists” should be purified, rather physically torn out.
IRFS assesses this action of an Interior Ministry official against a press representative as a death threat, and states that a a person delivering a death threat is criminally liability under Article 134 (threatening with death or inflicting heavy damage to health)  of Azerbaijan’s Crminal Code.
IRFS calls on the Interior Ministry and other relevant bodies to take measures against Ehsan Zahidov for threatening the journalist.