THE TEXT OF OPEN LETTER ADDRESSED TO THE PRESİDENT

December 28th, 2007

Mr. President,

 

The main reasons for addressing a letter to you are realization of the pardon on New Year eve and information published in the press related to not adding all journalists’ names to the pardon list. 

Much to my regret, I should note that, last four year negative tendency shows becoming worse the expression of freedom situation in our country day by day. During that period of time about 100 journalists were beaten and forced physical pressures. Two of journalists were assassinated. About 20 journalists were imprisoned. I would like to note that, 9 journalists (Sakit Zahidov, Samir Sadagatoglu, Rafig Tagi, Faramaz Allahverdiyev, Rovshan Kabirli, Yashar Agazade, Eynulla Fatullayev, Ganimat Zahid and Mushvig Huseynov) are still imprisoned in Azerbaijan. I think the imprisoned journalists whose names are mentioned in the above were arrested according to the political order of Azerbaijan government. As the result of this Azerbaijan shares 5-th place in the world for its imprisoned journalists. I think that, to add some of journalists’ names to the pardon list and not to add the other’s names are the ideas of several non-sagacious and conservative state officials who work under your leadership. To release five imprisoned journalists and to keep four of them in the prison cannot be regarded as the solution of the imprisoned journalists’ problem. Besides if you take incomplete decision, it will cause unsuccessful political effect. It is obvious that, during your meeting with higher Western officials who pay an official visit to Azerbaijan, you never support the imprisonment of the journalists and always cite as an example not filing a lawsuit against the journalists. I appreciate this action. You can use the authority delineated in the Constitution and release all 9 imprisoned journalists. In that way you will be able to prove your frankness in the whole international democratic community. State official who are around you, emphasize that, the imprisoned journalists who appealed to the president and Pardon Commission will be released. I think people who consider themselves noble are wrong for such statement. Of course some of imprisoned journalists can appeal you for pardon, but the others cannot for some reasons. Besides, we can’t be sure all applied imprisoned journalists will be released or not due to the information published in the press.

    Sometimes the state officials announce that, as if some of the journalists were imprisoned for criminal crimes. But I can say in complete assurance that, the accusations such as possession of a narcotic, terrorism, hooliganism and corruption as the result of incitement which are carried out against the journalists can be regarded as the cheap falsification of law-enforcement organs. I can write you about the imprisoned journalists’ current matters, worse condition of the expression of freedom in many pages. But I ask you to release all imprisoned journalists on upcoming holiday eve. In conclusion if you want to do something kindness and to gain positive dividends from that kindness, do it completely.

    I congratulate you on World Azerbaijanis Solidarity Day and New Year Holiday! I wish you to take successful decisions on the area of expression of freedom and press!