INSTITUTE FOR REPORTERS’ FREEDOM AND SAFETY: STATEMENT

September 6th, 2011
The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) strongly condemns the expulsion of Radio Liberty Azerbaijan Service reporter Yafaz Hasanov (Akramoglu) from Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (NAR) and deems it a gross violation of right to travel freely and access information.

Hasanov, who lives in Nakhchivan, reports that on August 31st, he went to the village of Arazin in Julfa, the former home of Turaj Zeynalov, who died in the National Security Ministry on August 25th, having been detained the day before.   
“On August 31st, three plain clothed men stopped me in the street.  They were in a car and forced me to get in with them. They refused to identify themselves. I realized that they were from the special authorities.  They took my passport and told me to switch off my mobile phone,“ said the correspondent. “They asked me to prepare report about death of Turaj Zeynalov, who they called ‘a traitor’”.  The correspondent was taken to a check point at the Azerbaijan-run border and was ordered to leave for Baku.  They told him that he will be punished if he returns to Nakhcivan. On September 1st,  the correspondent drove to Baku.
IRFS notes that this kind of behaviour seriously damages the international image of the Nakhcivan Autonomous Republic and the Republic of Azerbaijan, which can ill afford such damage.  IRFS calls on the Azerbaijani government to take measures to prevent this type of incident and to ensure favorable conditions for the legal professional work of journalists.