INSTITUTE FOR REPORTERS` FREEDOM AND SAFETY STATEMENT

August 10th, 2011
The Institute for Reporters` Freedom and Safety strongly condemns the harassment of Objective TV employee Mirrahim Hasanov and Bizim Yol newspaper employee Sevinj Vagifgizi (Abbasova) by the Special State Guard Office.

Objective TV (a joint project of Turan news agency and IRFS) employee Mirrahim Hasanov and Bizim Yol newspaper employee Sevinj Vagifgizi (Abbasova) were harassed by the Special State Guard Office while filming citizen Ilgar Ibrahimov, who was protesting at the grave of late president Heydar Aliyev in the Alley of Honor, for the lack of investigation of his complaint against the doctors who, he believes, caused the death of his mother.
The journalists were first detained by the guards of the Alley of Honor. Later they were handed over to the employees of Special State Guard Office, who took them to the Office of President where a memory card (costing 100 AZN) owned by IRFS was illegally confiscated. At the order of the guards, Vagifgizi deleted the photos that she had taken on her mobile phone.
IRFS believes that ex-president Heydar Aliyev`s grave is not within the jurisdiction of the Special State Guard Office, nor is filming or photographing this grave is prohibited by law. The employees of Special State Guard Office violated the law by hindering journalists’ professional work. Moreover, the Special State Guard Office abused their power by confiscating IRFS’ memory card and deleting the photographs taken by a newspaper correspondent.
IRFS demands an explanation for the said incident; compensation of loss and punishment of the persons that hindered the legal professional duty of the journalists.