Writer-journalist Rafig Tagi was stabbed near his home as he was returning from work on the evening of November 19th. His brother Alim Tagi told IRFS that Rafig received 6 knife injuries, but after the attacker fled, he was able to get home and call an ambulance.
He was then taken to Baku City Clinic Medical Center #1 where he underwent surgery, which lasted from 10pm to 6am the following morning.
One of the surgeons involved in Mr. Tagi’s treatment, Abbas Abbasov, described the surgery as “intense” but told journalists that the journalist’s life is no longer in danger. However, Abbasov cautioned that Mr. Tagi’s condition is still serious because of the amount of blood he lost while getting home and calling for help after the attack.
Abbasov also told Radio Liberty that the injuries sustained by the writer were very serious. In addition to losing a liter and a half of blood, Rafig Tagi suffered two broken ribs, a damaged stomach and diaphragm, and doctors had to remove his spleen. “It will be possible to assess the situation more accurately after Mr. Tagi is no longer reliant on the ventilator,” Abbasov noted.
Police from the Nasimi District office visited the hospital, investigated the scene of the crime, and took preliminary testimony from Rafig Tagi’s family.
The statement released by the press service of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Azerbaijan Republic says that “Rafig Nazir Tagiyev, a doctor at Emergency Medical Aid Station #8, was received by Clinical Medical Center at about 10pm, November 19, with injuries. A criminal case has been launched by Khatai District Police Office Investigation Department under Article 126.1 (deliberately inflicting grave bodily harm) of the Criminal Code. An operations-investigation group consisting of experienced police officers and prosecutors has been formed. The report confirms that an unknown person inflicted multiple knife injuries on Rafig Tagiyev, when he was returning home from work, and then left the scene. The criminal case has been submitted to the Grave Crimes Department of the General Prosecutor’s Office to continue the investigation. The Interior Ministry and Prosecutor General’s Office have taken control of the investigation, and urgent measures are being taken to apprehend the offender.”
Tagi is currently continuing his treatment in surgical department of Baku Clinical Medical Center.
Rafig Tagi, a physician at Emergency Medical Aid Station #8, is also a well-known writer and journalist whose articles have often proved controversial. Before the attack Mr. Tagi had been writing for www.kulis.az, where his last article, published on November 11th, was called “Iran and the Inevitability of Globalization”. The piece subjects the Iranian government, and the supreme religious leader, to harsh criticism.
Rafig Tagi has a history of controversial articles. He was arrested in 2007 for an article called “Europe and Us” (published in the Sanat newspaper), accused of using inappropriate language towards the Prophet Mohammad, and preferring Christian values to Islamic ones. Grand Ayatollah Fazil Lankarani of Iran even delivered a fatwa, calling for his death in response to this specific article.
Charged with inciting national and religious hatred, Rafig Tagi and the newspaper’s editor, Samir Sadagatoglu, received 3 and 4 years in jail respectively. However, they both received presidential pardons 8 months later.