POLICE INTERFERE IN WORK OF “MEDIAFORUM” WEBSITE EMPLOYEE AT PROTEST

July 3rd, 2010

On July 3, at a protest carried by Musavat Party and “Union for the Sake of Democracy” in front of “Science Academy” Metro Station and in the garden in front of the Academy,

“Mediaforum” website employee Erkin Khalilov was subjected to physical pressure by police. Khalilov, who police forcefully boarded onto a bus with participants of the action, told this to the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS). According to Khalilov, police tore up his Press card and confiscated his photo-camera.

Khalilov was distanced from the scene of the action, taken to “Ganjilik” Metro station and released. Khalilov told IRFS that he was detained because he was taking pictures at the protest. “I photographed an apartment building facing the metro where there was a sign ‘Live on Musavat’ was displayed from a 5th floor apartment,” said Khalilov. “Police knocked on the door of the apartment but no one answered. Because I photographed all of this, civilian-clothed men who are believe to be police forcibly took my camera away from me. I showed my Press card, but they tore it up. When I approached journalists and the Yasamal District Police Department Chief to inform them about this, they forced me into a bus.” Khalilov said his camera still has not been returned to him, however Mediaforum’s leadership contacted the Ministry of Interior Press Service and this incident is now being investigated.

“Mediaforum” Website Deputy Editor Hikmet Sabiroglu told IRFS that this incident is being investigated because the people who took Erkin Khalilov’s photo-camera were wearing civilian clothes.

Yasamal District Police Department duty officer Mustafayev told IRFS that the department had no information about this incident. He encouraged IRFS to contact the 28th Police Department. Yasamal District’s 28th Police Department duty officer Abderrahmanov told IRFS that they had no information about this incident.