INSTITUTE FOR REPORTERS’ FREEDOM AND SAFETY STATEMENT

March 20th, 2012
The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety is concerned about the mysterious arrest of three media representatives from Khayal TV and demands a full explanation of the reasons behind the arrests and information on their current whereabouts.

IRFS was told that Vugar Gonagov (executive director of Khayal TV), Zaur Guliyev (editor-in-chief of Khayal TV) and Zaur Mustafayev (Khayal’s manager) and video editors Vahid Ibrahimov and Islam Aslanov have been detained and brought to Baku. But no additional information has been made public.  

The Khayal TV representatives seem to have been targeted in relation to the recent Quba protests, which erupted in response to a video of the Qutba head executive Rauf Habibov insulting the residents of his own city. On March 1st, mass protests broke out resulting in Habibov’s house being set on fire and numerous confrontations between the people and security services. At least 10 persons have been detained as a result of the protests, though the exact number is unknown.

Five Azerbaijani media representatives are currently behind bars under trumped-up charges (possession of fire-arms and drugs, hooliganism, etc). These include Avaz Zeynalli (editor-in-chief of Khural newspaper), Aydin Janiyev (Khural newspaper correspondent), Ramin Bayramov (editor-in-chief of islamazeri.com), Anar Bayramli (correspondent of Iran’s Sahar TV to Azerbaijan), and Ramin Dadashov (driver for Azerbaijani Sahar TV office).

The IRFS notes that the arrest of another five media representatives will damage the international reputation of the country.