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Rasim Aliyev dies

We are deeply saddened by the death of the Azerbaijani journalist Rasim Aliyev, who passed away on 9 August in a hospital in Baku after receiving a savage beating the day before.

Prosecuting bodies have commenced an investigation into this case and so far have arrested one suspect. The assault on the journalist is said to be related to his comment posted on Facebook, in which Aliyev criticised one of the Azerbaijani football players. The alleged attackers are the footballer’s relatives. However, it was three weeks prior to the publication of the said comment that the journalist began to be intimidated and sent threats. The threats were linked to photos that Aliyev had posted on-line, showing Azerbaijani police brutality and public discontent. Reportedly, the journalist received threats saying “You’ll be punished for these photos”. Although he reported them to the police, authorities did nothing to protect Aliyev.

Rasim Aliyev was a member of a leading Azerbaijani organisation that fights for the media freedom, namely the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS). The attack on him was carried out exactly one year after the IRFS had been closed down by the Azerbaijani government and the Institute’s founder, Emil Huseynov, forced into hiding in fear of repression.

Aliyev’s murder is one of the many examples showing how dramatically the situation in Azerbaijan is deteriorating day by day.

A statement on this case, issued by the Sport for Rights coalition, can be viewed here.

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