INSTITUTE FOR REPORTERS’ FREEDOM AND SAFETY STATEMENT

July 3rd, 2010

The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) condemns that use of force by civilian-clothed who are suspected of being law enforcement officers against “Mediaforum” Website employee Erkin Khalilov

at today’s protest carried out by Musavat Party and “Union for the Sake of Democracy” in front of “Science Academy” Metro Station and in the garden in front of the Academy. IRFS assesses this as pressure against freedom of expression.

On July 3, at a protest carried out by Musavat Party and “Union for the Sake of Democracy” in front of “Science Academy” Metro Station and in the garden in front of the Academy, “Mediaforum” website employee Erkin Khalilov was subjected to physical pressure by police. Khalilov, who police forcefully boarded onto a bus with participants of the action, told this to the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS). According to Khalilov, police tore up his Press card and confiscated his photo-camera.

IRFS declares that interfering in the work of a journalist who is carrying out his professional work is a violation of the right to freely gather and disseminate information. Such action also contradicts Article 50 of the Republic of Azerbaijan’s Constitution and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In addition, this is a violation of article 163 of the Republic of Azerbaijan’s Criminal Code (interference in journalists’ professional work).

IRFS calls on the government and law enforcement agencies of Azerbaijan to respect local and international laws, to create appropriate conditions for journalists to carryout their professional work and to bring to responsibility the person or persons who used force against Khalilov.