IRFS demands to stop the pressure on journalist Elchin Ragimzade

The institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety condemns the repressive actions of Azerbaijan authorities in respect of the founder of channel on YouTube, Elchin Ragimzade and appeals for immediate cessation of all illegal forms of pressure on the journalist.

The founder and editor-in-chief of the channel on YouTube, Elchin Ragimzade was detained by the officers of State Security Service  (SSS) and interrogated for 12 hours.

In the course of search activities undertaken in office as well as in the house of the journalist there were deforced computers and other equipment. During the searches and interrogations that were conducted without allocation of a lawyer, the journalist suffered serious psychological pressure due to the illegal actions and threats of the SSS officers. They demanded that the journalist should refuse from the independent course and be loyal to the government policy as well as cooperate with the special services. In case of his refusal from cooperation they demanded that journalist should cease his professional activity. In the course of interrogations in the SSS department the special service officers illegally hacked the YouTube account of as well as the accounts in Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Gmail.

Resulting from the tough psychological pressure and the threats the journalist suffered the stroke due to which part of the journalist’s face was paralysed. Currently the journalist receives ambulatory treatment and is under medical observation.

Up to this moment the journalist still cannot regain access to his YouTube account of with about 100 thousand subscribers.

IRFS appeals to the OSCE representative on media freedom issues, Teresa Ribeiro with request for condemnation of Azerbaijan government actions and assistance to the journalist in restoration of his rights. IRFS also appeals to the Secretary General of Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić as well as the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović with request to remind the Azerbaijan authorities of the necessity to comply with  and ensure the freedom of expression as well as create safe environment for independent journalism in Azerbaijan.

IRFS also appeals to Azerbaijan authorities with request to refuse from vicious practice of applying pressure and persecuting of the critics as well as render immediate complete medical service required to restore health of the journalist, Elchin Ragimzade.

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