The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety expresses serious concern about two new attacks on “Azadlig” Newspaper correspondent Agil Khalil that occurred yesterday.

Khalil called IRFS this morning and reported that yesterday evening someone attempted to push him in the path of an oncoming subway train at the 28 May Metro Station, and then two people attempted to abduct him while he was walking down the street.  Khalil interprets both of these as further attempts to murder him. As a result of these incidents, Khalil has decided to temporarily stop working at “Azadlig” Newspaper and is no longer staying in his own apartment.  

Recall that prior to this, Khalil was beaten by two men, including one officer from the National Security Ministry, on 22 February 2008 while trying to investigate the cutting down of trees in "Zeytun Baglari" (Olive Gardens) in Baku, stabbed in the chest on 13 March 2008, and targeted by a vicious government-orchestrated black PR campaign on the local TV channel “Lider.”  
In light of what is written above, the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety calls for local law enforcement agencies to immediately investigate these two new acts of aggression against Khalil, in particular utilizing video footage from the security cameras located in 28 May Metro Station, and to also take stringent measures to ensure Khalil’s safety. IRFS also calls on the government of Azerbaijan to fulfill its obligations in the areas of freedom of expression and human rights and free Azerbaijan’s four wrongfully imprisoned journalists.  Lastly IRFS call on the international community to continue to pressure on Azerbaijan to fulfill obligations in the areas of freedom of expression and human rights, and to move towards taking concrete sanctions against Azerbaijan’s government if critical improvements are not made in these areas soon.

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