Police crack down on journalists covering controversial trials

October 28th, 2013

Journalists and media representatives have faced different types of pressure today while covering  a hearing in the controversial theologian Taleh Bagirov’s case.

A group was not allowed to  enter the courtroom at Sabunchu district court. ‎

Forced to wait outside the court, journalists faced pressure here, as well. The plainclothes people attacked Radio Liberty (Radio Azadliq) correspondent Turkhan Karimov while he was filming in the court yard and tried to seize his camera. They showed their IDs so fast that it was impossible to read their names or affiliation.  They twisted the journalist’s arms and pulled him out of the court yard.

The police also tried to seize professional equipment belonging to azadxeber.net correspondent Fergana Novruzova. When Novruzova refused to give her equipment she was allegedly attacked and fell on the ground.

Islamazeri.az correspondent Ilkin Huseynli was taken into a patrol car and punched in the stomach for refusing to give away his mobile phone, which he used to film the courtroom quarrel. His phone was seized, searched and returned back after no footage had been found in it. The police allowed him to go after checking his journalist ID. Inside the court building a police major twisted his arm, pushed him aside harshly and insulted him.‎

According to lawyer Javad Javadov, twenty-four observers of the hearing were briefly detained (taken to police office.)

In a similar move, the journalists were prevented from entering and observing the hearing on former MP Gular Ahmadova’s case. After the journalists’ objections, they were allowed in, but only after having their phones, cameras and IDs recorded.