Today’s meeting of Azerbaijan’s Council of Editors discussed Khural newspaper’s current situation, pressure on the family of journalist Idrak Abbas, and threats against the chief editor of Gundalik Baki newspaper, Habil Aliyev, by Ehsan Zakhidov, an employee of the Interior Ministry’s press service.
Journalist Idrak Abbasov said that an investigation is underway in Nasimi District Police office against his brothers under Article 221.1.1 of the Criminal Code (hooliganism committed by a group of persons) based on a complaint delivered by the Urgent Medical Aid Center. He has been informed that a criminal case will be launched against his brothers in the coming days. Abbasov also said that a petition has been lodged with the Binagadi District Prosecutors Office to launch a criminal case under Article 128 (deliberate damage to health) against a group of people who attacked his family’s home, injured his family members, insulted and threatened them with death, and destroyed their property.
Family lawyer Elchin Sadigov said that if convicted under Article 221.2.1 (hooliganism), Idrak’s brother could face three to five years of corrective labor.
As for threats against the editor of Gundalik Baku newspaper delivered by the Interior Ministry’s press service, they are connected with an article published in the newspaper alleging unprofessionalism bordering on anarchy in the Zagatala region police force. Due to the threats, Habil Aliyev appealed to the General Prosecutor Office, to the President, and to law enforcement agencies, requesting them to ensure his safety.
The chief editor of Khural newspaper, Avaz Zeynalli, believes that the Press Council is partly responsible for the confiscation of Khural’s property and the pressure applied against Gundalik Baku. His newspaper has stated that it is not a member of the Press Council, which, he believes, has been built on wrong principles and does not represent a full spectrum of the press.
Zeynalli believes that the confiscation of his newspaper’s property is politically motivated and illegal.
After discussions the Council adopted three decisions. An Editor’s Union member, Azadlig newspaper editor-in-chef Ganimat Zeynalli, said that the Council decided to meet with Interior Minister Ramil Usubov to attempt to defuse the situation around Idrak Abbasov, to adopt a statement about the situation with Khural newspaper, and to investigate the pressure on Habil Aliyev.