More than eight years have passed since the murder of Elmar Huseynov, editor-in-chief of Monitor magazine. He was gunned 7 times on the staircase of the building where he lived on 2 March 2005 and died in the crime scene. The people, who had ordered and carried out this crime, have not been brought to justice yet. This substantiated the doubts among the community since the very day of Elmar’s death that he was murdered for his sharp-tongued articles in which he severely criticized the authorities.
A criminal case was opened by the Ministry of National Security in connection with Huseynov’s murder. But the Ministry provided very little information to the society about the conduction of investigation. What the Ministry disclosed about investigation was that the men suspected of committing the crime were Georgian citizens Xubanov Tahir Bayram oglu and Aliyev Teymuraz Adil oglu. The Ministry stated that these men were being searched and all the necessary steps were being taken.
A group of NGOs, members of community and media representatives, including IRFS, repeatedly addressed information requests to the Ministry of National Security, Prosecutor General’s Office, Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Baku Bureau of Interpol, who was carrying out the search of the suspects, and other relevant agencies, trying to learn about the progress in investigation, but received a standard reply which said “necessary investigative measures were being taken and search for the suspects were being continued.”
Also, although the names of perpetrators were disclosed by law-enforcement agencies, the identity of the person(s), who had ordered the killing, is unknown.
The course of action shows that the investigative agencies are not interested in arresting the suspects. As such, in 2006 Azerbaijani journalists wrote an article about Teymuraz Aliyev in Tbilisi/Georgia, in which the suspect’s photo was also given. In reaction to this, the Ministry of National Security insistently stated that that man was not Teymuraz Aliyev.
Former member of the Criminal Search Office of the Azerbaijani Interior Ministry, Haji Mammadov, who was later arrested on charges of abduction, etc., alleged in his trial in Baku Grave Crimes Court on 14August 2006 that Elmar Huseynov’s murder was ordered by former Minister of Economic Development Farhad Aliyev and executed by his mob. This allegation was not confirmed by investigation.
In summer of 2012 the then jailed journalist Eynulla Fatullayev told the media that the mastermind of the murder was Ministry of National Security colonel Akif Chovdarov and carried out by a gang which also included Teymuraz Aliyev and Tahir Xubanov.
However neither the Ministry of National Security, which was in charge of the investigation, nor did other agencies disclose necessary information regarding these facts to the public. Although IRFS sent repeated requests to get information regarding these two facts, the replies were standard.
Azerbaijan authorities say the lack of mutual legal assistance agreements between Azerbaijan and Georgia makes it impossible to arrest the supposed murderers, i.e. Teymuraz Aliyev and Tahir Xubanov. While in other cases, as publicized by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan Republic, the wanted suspects are detained in the territory of Georgia and delivered to Azerbaijan in the framework of mutual legal assistance between relevant government agencies of Azerbaijan and Georgia, in conformity with international agreements.
In an interview with Azerbaijani Radio Liberty (Radio Azadliq) in 2010, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Baramidze was asked to give feedback on Azerbaijani officials’ statement that Elmar Huseynov’s murderers were Georgian citizens and that an official appeal had been addressed to the Georgian government in connection with this. Baramidze said the Georgian government would never conceal any criminal, may it be murderer of a journalist or an ordinary citizen.
Elmar Huseynov’s spouse Rushaniyye Huseynova, who currently resides in Norway, also said that she had rechecked the issue with the Georgian Ministry of Justice and was told by the ministry representatives that the Ministry never received official appeal/request from Azerbaijani side.