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The 16th of August would have been the birthday of Chairman and board member of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS), journalist Rasim Aliyev, who died on 9 August after being severely beaten the previous day. He would have turned 31. Seven days had passed since his death. His family, friends and colleagues marked Aliyev’s birthday at his grave. They spoke about his journalistic activities and his victimhood to the arbitrariness reigning in the country, and demanded that his killers be brought to justice.
Aliyev was violently attacked by seven or eight men, who were relatives and friends of Gabala football team player Javid Huseynov, near his house on 8 August. The men beat Aliyev severely. He was first hit on the ear, and then kicked after falling to the ground. Aliyev died in hospital late on 9 August. The Baku City Prosecutor’s Office has opened a case under Article 126.3 of the Criminal Code (deliberate causing of serious harm to health, resulting in the death of the victim). Javid Huseynov’s cousin Elshan Ismayilov, as well as Jamal Mammadov, Arif Aliyev, Kanan Madatov, and Samir Mustafayev were arrested. Huseynov himself was detained for three months under articles 307.1 (failure to inform about a serious crime, despite of being aware of its preparation or committal) and 307.2 (concealment of a serious crime without a prior promise).
Note that on 6 August, Javid Huseynov had been interviewed by journalists after the Gabala-Apollo (Cyprus) match of the third qualification round of the Europa League. According to the media, Huseynov first called on the journalists, who criticised him for his obscene gesture made during the first leg match, to take a blood test, hinting that those who criticised him had Armenian blood. Huseynov then acted disrespectfully towards a Cypriot journalist, who asked why he had raised a Turkish flag. Besides telling him in English that “Turks are my friends”, Huseynov made an obscene hand gesture towards the journalist, which was captured on camera.
Sharing this news on his Facebook page, Aliyev wrote the following: “I don’t want such an immoral and ill-mannered footballer, who cannot control himself, to represent me in European stadiums”. After that, Huseynov and his relatives called Aliyev and invited him to a meeting with Huseynov’s cousin. The attack against Aliyev, who went to the meeting alone, was fully recorded by a public security camera.
Aliyev had been a member of IRFS since the day of its establishment in 2006. After IRFS Chairman Emin Huseynov was forced into hiding to avoid arbitrary criminal prosecution in August 2014, Aliyev was elected as chairman of IRFS. The Ministry of Justice was officially informed about the change of the IRFS chairman. Although Aliyev was not actually working for IRFS as its projects were stopped due to the suspension of its bank accounts, the confiscation of its equipment and documents and the sealing of its office, he remained the chairman of IRFS until his death.