August 17th, 2010

Today, the 17th of August, one year has passed since Tolishi Sado newspaper editor-in-chief Novruzali Mammadov`s death. 

On 17 August 2009, 68 year old editor-in-chief Novruzali Mammadov died mysteriously in the Justice Ministry Penitentiary Services Central Hospital. Official organizations said that he died as a result of his disease; however, the Defense Committee to Novruzali Mammadov`s rights and members of his family said that the editor-in-chief died due to negligence to provide him with necessary medical assistance and  failure to provide him with  treatment. Since the government did not investigate the reason of Mammadov’s death thoroughly, no one was held responsible for it. The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety appealed to the government to conduct a parallel investigation into this death case; however, conditions to investigate this issue were never secured and the government tried to cover up his death.  


On the 18th of January 2009 N. Mammadov was put in solitary confinement in Prison #15 and as a result he developed serious health problems. Then he appealed to court, and in March of that year, the court fulfilled his claim and issued a decision to immediately transfer him to a medical facility. However, the prison leadership ignored the court’s decision and N.Mammadov’s health deteriorated. On the28th of July N.Mammadov’s health became critical and he was transferred to the Justice Ministry’s Penitentiary Services Central Hospital. However, the journalist was not given the required treatment there either. Considering the seriousness of Mammadovs health problems, local and international organizations called for the editor-in-chief to be placed in a civilian hospital, and to invite a medical consultant expert via the Council of Europe to see him. However, this was not permitted.


In 2007, during a closed hearing, N.Mammadov was sentenced to a ten year imprisonment under article 274 (treason) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic. However, N.Mammadov, who had Talysh nationality, did not consider himself guilty and claimed that his arrest was related to ethnic-political motives and freedom of speech.