INSTITUTE FOR REPORTERS’ FREEDOM AND SAFETY STATEMENT

December 16th, 2009
The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) condemns the pressure used against Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Democracy and NGO Development Resource Centre employees.

Yesterday, 15 December, the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Democracy and NGO Development Resource Centre employees were beaten by a group of Nakhchivan State University students and teachers. Consequently, employees Ilgar Nasibov and Vefadar Eyvazov sustained serious bodily damages. The employees of the centre were insulted and forced to leave the place by the leadership of the university, and about 50 students from the physical fitness faculty. This happened while Nasibov and Eyvazov were conducting surveys among students and teachers within the framework of the project “Fight against corruption- the application of anti-corruption mechanisms in the high schools of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.”
At this time, they were attacked by these persons in front of the building, where Nasibov lives, and they were hit and kicked. As a result, they were both injured. They used abusive language against IRFS correspondent in Nakhchivan Elman Abbasov who came to the site of the incident, and then proceeded to threaten him.
IRFS notes that this is clear evidence that the situation of human rights and freedom of speech is in a dire situation in Nakhchivan.
IRFS calls attention to the fact that there have been several cases of moral and physical pressure against civil society and representatives of media in Nakhchivan, and the people responsible for these actions have gotten off with complete impunity.    
IRFS calls on the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic to respect human rights and freedom of speech, to end harassment against civil society and journalists and to punish those that are behind these attacks.