IRFS STATEMENT:

June 22nd, 2009

GUARD AT LANKERAN STATE UNIVERSITY USES FORCE AGAINST JOURNALISTS, BREAKS PHOTO CAMERA 

Today, at approximately 12:20 p.m., Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety researcher Rasim Aliyev and “Janub Khaberler” Newspaper correspondent Parviz Azimov were investigating Azimov’s expulsion from Lankeran State University (LSU) when a guard from the university confronted them in the yard of the university compound, insulted them, pushed them and struck the Nikon D90 photo camera that Aliyev was holding in his hand, breaking it.

Ironically, LSU guard Aghali Kelbiyev works a under Economic Works Deputy Rector Ruslan Hamidov, the person representing the university in the pending lawsuit Azimov filed against LSU for wrongful expulsion. Kelbiyev is scheduled to give testimony against Azimov tomorrow, June 23.
 
The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and condemns this use of force by Kelbiyev against journalists, and his illegal interference in the work of journalists. IRFS calls for disciplinary measures to be taken against the guard and for compensation for the broken photo camera to be paid to IRFS. In addition, IRFS calls for Kelbiyev to be struck from the list of defense witness scheduled for tomorrow due to conflicts of interest.
 
IRFS, in collaboration with the Media Rights Institute, plans to file a lawsuit over this incident. They will also appeal to the Lankeran Region Police Department.
 
LSU claims that Parviz Azimov violated internal discipline rules to expel him (allegedly beat a fellow student); however Azimov says that he was expelled because of his article “Open Bazaar in Closed Rooms,” which was published in “Janub Khabarlari” Newspaper on 10 February 2009. Azimov was in his senior year at LSU when he was expelled this February.