On November 19, 2011, writer and journalist Rafiq Taqi was attacked in the street near his home by an unknown assailant who stabbed him seven times. Following surgery, Tagi had appeared to be in recovery, but he then died four days after the attack under circumstances the IRFS considered suspicious.
Rafiq Taqi was attacked in the street near his home by an unknown assailant who stabbed him seven times at around 7 pm while walking home from work. Although Taqi sustained severe injuries, he still managed to get home with great difficulty. His family immediately called an ambulance. By the time the ambulance arrived (allegedly late) Taqi had lost much blood. He was taken to the Public Hospital #1, where after quick check-up he was placed into the intensive care unit and underwent the surgery. Two days after the surgery, i.e. on November 21st Taqi was transferred to the ward, which was not a correct step according to his friends and colleagues as his injuries were severe. After being placed in the ward and on the fourth day of treatment his heath suddenly declined and he was placed in the intensive care unit again, but the doctors could not save his life.
Rafiq Taqi’s body was examined in the Health Ministry’s Forensic Medical Examination and Pathological Anatomy Unit by the decision of the Serious Crimes Investigation Department of the General Prosecutor’s Office on November 23. According to preliminary findings of the examination, the cause of Taqi’s death was health complications (peritonitis, pleurisy, edema, etc.) which developed due to the knife injuries.
A criminal case was opened by the Serious Crimes Investigation Department of the General Prosecutor’s Office in connection with Taqi’s death.
A year after Taqi’s death, on 9 November 2012 his lawyer Elchin Sadigov told the media that before his death Taqi complained of pains and he received an unknown injection. “We demanded an investigation in relation with the medical personnel’s performance. Our hopes for fair and objective investigation have now faded.”
The Prosecutor General’s Office denied the lawyer’s claims saying that they contradicted the criminal case materials. “Numerous investigative measures have been implemented in this case, the victim and more than 180 witnesses were questioned, also up to 10 complex examinations were appointed and relevant expert opinions were received. The doctors and medical staff, who took Taqiyev (Taqi) to the Public Hospital #1 in the ambulance and treated him, were also questioned. The recordings of 43 video surveillance cameras located along Taqiyev’s (Taqi’s) movement trajectory on the day of assault and the previous day were analyzed; only 4 of the video cameras did not record due to technical problems. Forensic medical examination has concluded that the reason of Taqiyev’s (Taqi’s) death were the knife injuries inflicted to his body. Besides, as for the motions regarding conduction of different investigative or procedural actions received from Rafiq Tagiyev’s legal heir Maile Tagiyeva and his representative Elchin Sadigov were considered in accordance with the requirements of the Criminal Procedure Code and relevant decisions were adopted. At present necessary investigative actions, which are based on different assumptions and aimed at identification and prosecution of perpetrator(s) of this crime, are being carried out by the investigation team formed in the Serious Crimes Investigation Department of the General Prosecutor’s Office for investigation of the said criminal case.”
Dissatisfied with the investigation, Rafiq Taqi’s family has appealed to the President. But the response came from the Prosecutor General’s Office, which in reply to the Media Forum website’s request on November 20, 2013, said “As we previously informed, an investigation team has been formed consisting of prosecutor’s office, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Justice. With an aim to check the speculations in order to solve the crime, the team has questioned multiple witnesses, conducted body search, seizure and other investigative procedures, appointed necessary expert examinations, and taken other immediate investigative steps and procedural measures. The report of the investigative teams of the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs aimed at identification and prosecution of the perpetrator(s) of the crime, taking into account that the crime was committed in covert conditions, has been regularly heard, and the team was given concrete tasks and recommendations. Necessary investigative measures are being taken at present.”