The Institute for Reporters` Freedom and Safety (IRFS) condemns the Ministry of National Security for summoning Yeni Musavat Newspaper Editor-in-chief Rauf Arifoglu and Turan Information Agency Director Mehman Aliyev to the Ministry and assesses this incident as pressure against freedom of speech.
Yesterday, 16 March, Yeni Musavat Newspaper Editor-in-chief Rauf Arifoglu was unofficially called to the National Security Ministry and was interrogated for three hours regarding the recent statements of Eynulla Fatullayev about the murder of Elmar Huseynov that were published in the Yeni Musavat newspaper. A.Raufoglu was told that those articles interfere with the investigation into the case of Elmar Huseynov’s murder. During the interrogation the Ministry officials treated him rudely, and his request to be provided with a lawyer was ignored.
Although Arifoglu noted that Eynulla Fatullayev’s statements were published citing Turan Information Agency and that according to the legislation “On Mass Media” he did not hold any responsibility, he was warned to not disclose investigation secrets.
Today, 17 March, Turan Information Agency Director Mehman Aliyev was called to the NSM.
IRFS declares that summoning the editor-in-chief to the Ministry for an article and subjecting him to pressure and threats violate article 47 (thought and speech freedom) and 50 (freedom of information) of the Constitution of Azerbaijan Republic, article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention of Human Rights, article 1 (freedom of media) and article 7 (inadmissibility of censorship) of the Azerbaijan Republic Law “On Mass Media.”
IRFS reminds that failure to secure Rauf Arifoglu’s right to be interrogated in the presence of a lawyer violates his right to “Receive legal assistance” envisaged in article 61 of the Constitution of Azerbaijan Republic.
IRFS notes that rude behavior towards the editor-in-chief during the interrogation is contradictory to article 46 (Right to protection of honor and dignity) of the Constitution of Azerbaijan Republic.
IRFS calls on Azerbaijan’s law-enforcement organs, particularly the NSM, to respect international and local legislation and end similar incidents that violate the rights of media representatives.
IRFS calls upon international organizations to react to this incident and demand that Azerbaijani government put an end to these cases.