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Journalist threatened, harassed for sending inquiry to Ministry of Agriculture office

(IRFS/IFEX) - On 21 April 2008, "Bizim Yol" newspaper correspondent Natig Adilov received a threat by telephone from an unidentified person, with regard to an inquiry he had submitted to a government office. He received a second threatening call regarding the same matter on 22 April.

The journalist told IRFS that he sent an inquiry to the head of the Azerbaijan Agriculture Investment Project of the Ministry of Agriculture on 12 April. The inquiry pertained to the financing for the paving of roads in Khalfali Village in the Sabirabad region.

The person who called Adilov in response to the inquiry assumed that the inquiry was sent because of a complaint letter sent from Khalfali Village and demanded a copy of that letter from the journalist. Adilov replied to the caller: "I sent the inquiry for research purposes. If you represent the organization, you are obliged to reply to the inquiry."

The caller then asserted his refusal to respond to the inquiry and, when Adilov asked for a written response, said to the journalist: "You know that they can behead you for this."

Adilov then asked the caller to identify himself, to which the person answered, "Don't worry, you will find out soon."

"Today I was threatened by the same person calling from the same number," Adilov told IRFS on 22 April. "The caller demanded with insistence that the hypothetical complaint letter that supposedly prompted my inquiry be given to him. I am preparing to file a complaint about the threats with the appropriate law enforcement bodies."

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