Açiq mənbələrdən foto.

Açiq mənbələrdən foto.

The Institute for Freedom and Safety of Reporters condemns the authorities of Azerbaijan for intentional passivity resulting in cruel murder of a journalist and LGBT activist 24-year old Avaz Shikhmamedov (publishing under nickname Avaz Khafizli). According to the statement by the General Prosecutor’s office, Avaz Shikhmamedov was killed by knife stabs on February 22. As per investigation version, the killer is a cousin of the journalist, Amrulla Gulaliyev, who has already been detained and arrested for the duration of investigation. IRFS deem that this statement is aimed to defend the authorities from responsibility for the death of journalist and present all this as a crime committed on the basis of ordinary family conflict between the persons of the same age. General prosecutor’s office and law enforcement authorities of Azerbaijan deliberately concealed from the local and international community the shocking details of cruelty resembling a medieval execution with slashing throat of the journalist and cutting off his penis.

IRFS pose doubt on the statement of the prosecution and demand that the authorities of Azerbaijan arrange to conduct a transparent investigation with punishment of all those guilty in essentially the execution of the journalist.

The materals initially gathered by IRFS provide the basis to assume that the authorities of Azerbaijan are to be held responsible for this murder. In the course of last year the journalist had several times applied to the authorities with request to protect him from the assaults of the progovernmental blogger Sevinj Guseynova, who addressed the users of networks with open appeals to physically execute him. The journalist also requested the law enforcement authorities on numerous occasions to provide him with protection since he was seriously concerned for his life. However law enforcement authorities purposely ignored the appealsof journalist.

Multiple protest actions of the journalist in front of law enforcement agencies did not help either, and nor did his applications to ombudsmen office.

IRFS appeal to the UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay,  the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Teresa Ribeiro as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet with request to condemn this terrible crime against the journalist and demand that the authorities of Azerbaijan identify all those guilty in the tragic murder and hold them responsible.

IRFS appeal to the authorities of Azerbaijan to stop the policy of intolerance toward dissent as well as encouragement of the language of hatred and impunity for the crimes against journalists.

IRFS also appeals to the political leadership of Azerbaijan with request to release from the prisons all its critics and to cancel recently adopted Media Law, which contradicts to European Convention on Human Rights and which otherwise will result in even more tragic results for expression of freedom in Azerbaijan.-0-


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