INSTITUTE FOR REPORTERS’ FREEDOM AND SAFETY STATEMENT

August 31st, 2010
The Institute for Reporters Freedom and Safety (IRFS) strongly condemns the stabbing of Komanda newspaper’s sports writer Rasul Shukursoy and assesses this as obstruction to freedom of speech.

Rasul Shukursoy, who was stabbed in the arm by an unidentified person in the Binagadi district on his way home yesterday, at about 11 p.m., claims he was subjected to physical harassment because of his professional work.
IRFS recalls that an incident took place in the newspaper’s editorial office on August 22nd and the newspaper staff disseminated information that football player Mahmud Gurbanov came to the editorial office of “Komanda” newspaper, beat Editor-in-chief Rashad Ergun (Agayev), insulted the newspaper’s employees and damaged the property of the editorial office. However, Mahmud Gurbanov had told IRFS that although a dispute erupted in the editorial office, he did not hurt anybody.
IRFS calls on law-enforcement bodies to investigate the incident to find the criminals and prosecute them.
IRFS states that the subjection of this journalist to harassment for his article contradicts Article 47 (Freedom of Expression and Thought) of the Constitution of Azerbaijani Republic and Article 10 (Freedom of Expression) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Interference with journalists’ professional activity also calls for criminal responsibility under article 163 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic (interference in professional work of journalists). Moreover, a criminal case must be launched under the relevant article of the Criminal Code against the person who physically injured the journalist using a knife.
IRFS calls on law-enforcement bodies to investigate this criminal case, find the perpetrator and bring him to justice.