STATEMENT OF THE INSTITUTE FOR REPORTERS’ FREEDOM AND SAFETY

August 27th, 2008
The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety condemns today’s beating of Radio Liberty correspondents Malahet Nasibova and Ilgar Nasibov, and IRFS Nakhchivan correspondent Elman Abbasov in Azerbaijan’s Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan by members of Nehram Village’s executive administration and municipality.

IRFS also expresses concern that government and law enforcement officials from Azerbaijan’s Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan have taken not actions against the people responsible for this, even though the incident occurred right in front of police officers.
Today, August 27, in the morning, in the Nakhchivan Autnomous Republic’s village of Nehram, there was a confrontation between police and village residents. During this confrontation, Radio Liberty correspondents Malahet Nasibova and Ilgar Nasibov, and Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety correspondent Elman Abbasov, who were preparing reports, were beat. In addition, the journalists’ camera and Dictaphones, as well as the Malahet Nasibova's mobile telephone, were taken away and smashed on the ground. As a result some of the equipment no longer works. The journalists have also sustained various minor injuries.
IRFS believes that use of force against the journalists in the presence of police, and police officer’s failure to prevent pressure is a reflection of the attitude of Nakhchivan’s leadership towards journalism and the free press. IRFS demands the government of Azerbaijan and the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan punish those who attacked the journalists.
IRFS calls on Azerbaijan’s government to respect and adhere to local legislation and international conventions that Azerbaijan has signed on to, to foster proper conditions for journalists to work in, to objectively investigate what has happened to these three journalists and to punish those who are responsible.
IRFS believes that the government of Azerbaijan has direct responsibility for this incident. By not objectively investigating other attempts to attack and even murder journalists, or failing to punish those who are responsible, an environment in which these types of incident are repeated has been created.