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Journalist harassed after writing book about former president

(IRFS/IFEX) - The following is an IRFS press release:

Journalist faces pressure over book

Freelance journalist Anar Mahmudoglu told the Institute for Reporter Freedom and Safety that he has been facing harassment ever since publication of his book "Lifetime Struggle".

Mahmudoglu said, "Because I reflect on the negative nuances as well as positive nuances of the former president of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, in the book, I am facing pressure. I was first attacked by 'XXI As' newspaper, whose founder was Mammad Alizade. On 17 November 2007 M. Alizade wrote an article against me in the newspaper. The founder of 'Republicans' newspaper, Subut Asadov, also wrote an article against me on 28 November 2007. Then, on 30 November, in 'Azad Azerbaijan' newspaper, two authors, Barat Karimov and Bakhtiyar Huseynov, wrote articles against me in accordance with the wish of the Presidential Administration's Department Chairman, Gafar Aliyev. In all the articles written against me, it is noted that I cast a shadow on H. Aliyev's personality in my book. But I want to note that in my book, I reflected both H. Aliyev's negative and positive features. The Presidential Administration and Ministry of National Security marked the part related to H. Aliyev and sent the book to the Presidium of the National Science Academy. As the result of this, I was dismissed from the National Science Academy.

"I would like to note that I have faced pressures before this. A man by the name of Elshan Aliyev sent me a telegram from Lankaran. According to his telegram, I cast a shadow on H. Aliyev's personality in my book. On 29 December 2007, I went to Vilvan village in Lankaran region on a trip related to this matter, and met with the man who sent me the telegram. While coming back, I was arrested by Lankaran City Criminal Investigation Department Chairman Ilham Ahmadov and held illegally for more than five hours in the department. When I asked the reason for my arrest, I was told that a man from Vilvan village sent a telegram to the police department and claims that I humiliated Lankaran City Executive Administration Chairman Suleyman Mikayilov."

The journalist, who has not yet appealed to any law enforcement agencies, noted that, on January 15, Ministry of Interior Personnel Staff Working Department Chairman Ramiz Akhundov called Mahmudoglu's friends and ordered the author to come to the Ministry of the Interior. Anar Mahmudoglu said, "Today I spoke via telephone with R. Akhundov and he ordered me to send him the book."

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