Journalist Aynur Elgunash Reports Receiving Death Threats

October 5th, 2016

aynur elgunes

Freelance journalist Aynur Elgunash has revealed that she has been threatened with death. The journalist has already appealed to law enforcement agencies in this regard.

According to Elgunash, on October 4th she received a phone call from a person who claimed being blackmailed by a journalist of Azerbaijan Information Agency (AIA) by name Elnara who threatened to publish materials about them unless a certain amount of money was brought to Jannat Jannatov (Ed., AIA editor).

“The caller gave me Jannat’s phone number as well. To investigate the issue, I called that number and introduced myself as a freelance journalist. I said there was such a claim and asked how valid that claim was. The person, whom I called, asked which media outlets I was working with, and, of course, I named all the media outlets which published my articles, including Meydan TV. He hung up without saying anything and left my question hanging in the air. After about 5 minutes, he called back and began swearing. He mentioned Isa Gambar’s and Meydan TV’s names, and uttered phrases like ‘oppositionists like you need to be kicked out’ and so on. He said his agency was subject to the Press Council. I called Aflatun Amashov (Ed., Chairman of Press Council) and told him that aia.az website, about which there were complaints, spoke on their (Ed., Press Council’s) behalf and cursed me. Amashov said he did not know such a media outlet or person and was currently abroad. He said he would return after October 10th and would then investigate the matter. But the person (Ed., Jannat) did not let me alone. After ignoring at least a dozen of his calls, I finally picked up, and he swore and threatened me. I recorded his voice with a sound-recorder and warned him about it. He did not calm down and began to insult even more. I blocked his number. After that, I received calls from different numbers, mainly hidden numbers, and again insult and threats. He said he would find me. He said ‘I am going to make it so hot for you that you will not be able to go out in public’. During the last call, he said my life was in his hands. He said ‘wait and see’,” the journalist said.

According to the journalist, she reported the incident to the 102 hotline of the Ministry of Internal Affairs after consulting her lawyer on October 4, and today, she filed a complaint with the 36th police office, and was told that she would be invited for an interview.

AIA editor-in-chief Azer Mammadov has said that the agency’s editor Jannat Jannatov has not threatened or insulted journalist Aynur Elgunash.

Background: Journalist Aynur Elgunash is under an international travel ban imposed as part of criminal case #152006048 which has been launched against Meydan TV officials under Articles 192.2.2, 213.2.2 and 308.2 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic and is investigated by the Serious Crimes Investigation Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office. Other journalists collaborating with Meydan TV have also faced foreign travel bans.