The appeal of civil society representatives of Azerbaijan in connection with the murder of the journalist Rasim Aliyev

On 9 August,  Rasim Aliyev, a journalist of the resource who for a long time worked for the Institute for Reporters Freedom and Safety, died from injuries caused as a result of brutal beatings. Rasim Aliyev is known for photos and video on the events of social and political life of Azerbaijan in various online publications country.

According to the joint information of the Interior Ministry and Prosecutor General's Office of Azerbaijan " Rasim Mammadali oglu Aliyev, Baku resident, born in 1984, was brutally beaten by a group of unknown persons near the shop "Bail market" in the village of Bail"  on 8 August at around 18:00.  He had numerous injuries and was placed to the city Clinical Medical Center.  On 9 August  at 05:00 the journalist died from injuries.

Investigation department of the Baku City Prosecutor's Office  filed a lawsuit on the fact under Article 126.3 (deliberate infliction of grievous bodily harm resulting in death of the victim.)  A joint investigative team has been formed from the employees of the city prosecutor's office and the police.

Before his death, Aliyev told reporters that he was beaten for the status on Facebook in which he reproached the player of "Gabala" football club,  Javid Huseynov, for unworthy behavior of the athlete. He was beaten by  five or six people. The football club "Gabala"  is connected with the Gilan Holding. President of the club is Taleh Heydarov, Chairman of the European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS), the son of the Minister of Emergency Situations, Kamaladdin Heydarov.

On 31 July during a match of  "Apollo" - "Gabala" Javid Huseynov  showed  unethical gesture  to the Cypriot fans, and on 6 August, after the return match "Gabala" - "Apollo" he  once again showed an obscene gesture to the  Cypriot journalist, but in both cases he was not punished  by the leadership of the group. During the match the fans of "Gabala" behaved aggressively, and the police had to restrain them. But instead of an adequate response, the club issued a statement condemning the police action, called on  the fans "not to despair and to continue to support the team, taking their seats in the stands."

Earlier, before the last fatal case Rasim Aliyev told that he was threatened for the activity on the social network, and in this connection, he appealed to the police. However, after the beating of a journalist on August 8 who did not report motives of beatings, the football clubs "Gabala", nor the police, nor the higher authorities respond to this brutal crime. Not any  preventing measures were taken to protect his life, or search the perpetrators.

Law enforcement agencies, the Presidential Administration and the club "Gabala" to some extent responded adequately to the incident only after the death of the journalist. President Ilham Aliyev described the incident as a threat to independent media and took a murder investigation under his personal control.

The murder of Rasim Aliyev cannot be considered beyond the context of stifling the freedom of speech in Azerbaijan – a law on defamation has not been adopted, murderers of the journalist Elmar Huseynov and Rafiq Tagi were not found,  in most cases the perpetrators of violence against journalists are not brought to trial.  Just the day before, on 7  August, in front of the Baku  Serious Crimes Court persons in civilian clothes, with the connivance of the police, attacked and subjected to physical and moral violence journalists. The political leadership and law enforcement agencies did not respond to this event.

There are  13 journalists and bloggers  in jails; almost closed  trial  is going on  in the case of the journalist Khadija Ismayilova, relatives journalists who criticize the authorities are persecuted, and there is an atmosphere of fear. All this creates conditions for regular crimes against journalists and participants of members of  mass media.

In connection with the situation the  participants of the meeting, held under the aegis of  the Committee for civil society,  express protest against this policy, and urge the authorities to:

1. Punish under the law of the organizers and perpetrators of the murder of journalist Rasim Aliyev.

2. To investigate and bring to justice the organizers and perpetrators of the murder of  the journalist Elmar Huseynov and Rafiq Tagi.

3.To investigate all the facts of violence against journalists and to bring those responsible to justice.

4. To release from prison journalists and bloggers.

5.  To create conditions for the development of freedom of speech in Azerbaijan.

6. In the shortest period develop and implement a program of formation of an independent, high-quality and responsible press and blogosphere.

7. To create  preventive mechanisms for the prevention of violence against journalists and members of a social network.


Baku, 10.08.2015


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