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President Aliev says police will not be punished for beating up journalists

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has condemned comments made by President Ilham Aliev to a group of police academy graduates on 2 July 2007. Aliev told the group that he had "banned sanctions" against policemen responsible for violence against journalists covering the November 2005 legislative elections. "I will always support the police," he said.

"By saying this, the president has come out in support of complete impunity," the press freedom organisation said. "Instead of urging the police to behave better towards the press, he is encouraging them to do the same all over again."

Policemen beat a total of 14 journalists during a demonstration by the opposition alliance Azadlig on 9 October 2005. Two of them, Ramiz Nadjafli, the editor of the weekly "Boz Gurd", and Idrak Abbasov, a correspondent of the daily "Ayna-Zerkalo", had to be rushed to hospital (see IFEX alert of 11 October 2005).

No fewer that 12 journalists working for different media, including BBC cameraman Shaida Tulagayeva and Samir Neymanoglu of the independent news agency Turan, were again roughed up by security forces on 29 November 2005, as Reporters Without Borders was urging the president "to take all the necessary measures to ensure the safety of journalists" (see IFEX alert 29 November 2005).

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