July 17th, 2008

Today OSCE Special Representative on Media Freedom Miklos Haraszti issued a statement condemning the verdict issued by the Nasimi District Court in Azerbaijan on the case against Sergey Strekalin for allegedly stabbing "Azadlig" Newspaper correspondent Agil Khalil.

"This is the climax of a smear campaign orchestrated by law-enforcers against Khalil, his newspaper, and the remnants of critical journalism in Azerbaijan," said Haraszti.
Later in the statement Haraszti went on to say, "I view the show trial against Strekalin as an attempt to protect the real stabbers. […] To illustrate how far these allegations are, let me remind you, that after the prosecution stopped the case against the two officers who attacked Khalil in February, it waged a large-scale public campaign to discredit the journalist. To support their scenario, the prosecution ordered the major television channels to broadcast videos where Strekalin confessed to the stabbing of the journalist by posing as a jealous ex-lover."
The statement can viewed in its entirety at http://www.osce.org/item/32232.html.