STATEMENT OF INSTITUTE FOR REPORTERS’ FREEDOM AND SAFETY

February 23rd, 2008
The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) is concerned about the beating and alleged attempt to kill “Azadlig” Newspaper correspondent Agil Khalil.

Yesterday, February 22, at 5 p.m. Khalil went to the “Zeytun Baglari” (Olive Gardens), located in to the 6-9th microregions in Baku’s Binagedi district, after Azadlig Newspaper received a tip that trees were being cut down and burned there. However on the scene of the gardens Khalil was violently attacked by two people, a 45-50 year-old male and 50-55 year-old male. These two people grabbed Khalil’s press ID and never returned it, and also tried to take the journalist’s photo-camera. Khalil reports that in the altercation his finger was broken and he also sustained other injuries. The two attackers also strangled him with the cord to his camera, and when Khalil fell to the ground, the men kicked him.  
IRFS call for Azerbaijan’s law enforcement agencies to investigate this incident of violence against Agil Khalil and to ensure the journalist’s safety.  
IRFS also calls on international organziations to demand that Azerbaijan’s law enforcement agencies to conduct a comprehensive investigation into this act of violence against a journalist.