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Correspondents in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic receive death threats; IRFS correspondent assaulted

(IRFS/IFEX) - On 30 January 2009, Elman Abbasov and Hakimeldostu Mehdiyev, correspondents for the IRFS in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, and Malahet Nasibova, a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Turan News Agency Nakhchivan correspondent, addressed a letter of complaint to the Nakhchivan City Police Department and the republic's Ministry of the Interior regarding threatening calls made to their mobile telephones. In the appeal, they asked law enforcement bodies to investigate the calls and to identify and charge those responsible. They also called for measures that will ensure the personal safety of IRFS Nakhchivan correspondents and the security of the IRFS editorial office, housed at the Resource Center for Democracy and Development of NGOs.

On 29 January, at approximately 6:55 p.m. (local time), Abbasov received a threatening call on his mobile. According to Abbasov, the caller, who identified himself as Sadarak region resident Malik Aliyev and said he was an invalid, threatened Abbasov and Mehdiyev.

"This person said that he will blow up the office which is situated in Nakhchivan city at the Resource Center for Democracy and Development of NGOs. After ten minutes that person called Nasibova and also threatened her," said Abbasov.

In a separate incident on 31 January, at approximately 11:00 a.m. (local time), Mehdiyev was assaulted during a gathering held by opposition parties in front of the "Umid" Party's Nakhchivan department to mark the 125th birthday of Mammad Amin Rasulzade, reported Abbasov.

According to Abbasov, someone named Ismayil Ismayilov insulted both Mehdiyev and Nasibova using inappropriate language. Ismayilov then hit Mehdiyev, who was filming the event, in the face with a ceramic ashtray. As a result, Mehdiyev sustained injuries around his eye.

Mehdiyev has reported the incident to police.

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