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Football player assaults newspaper editor

(IRFS/IFEX) - On 22 August 2010, football player Mahmud Gurbanov came to the editorial offices of "Komanda" newspaper, beat editor-in-chief Rashad Ergun (Agayev), insulted the newspaper's employees and damaged the property of the editorial office.

Rashad Ergun told the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS) that Gurbanov, a member of the Baku football team, became angry after an article titled "The person who changed his reputation with money" was published in the newspaper on 15 August.

"Mahmud Gurbanov came to the editorial office and insulted everyone using abusive language. Then he came to my office and beat me. Newspaper employees Natig Mukhtarli and Kanan Mastaliyev wanted to interfere, but he began to break computers and other office equipment," said Ergun, who also emphasised that the article in question contained no insults.

Ergun added that they appealed to the Nasimi District Police Unit #20 regarding the incident.

"I had a medical examination for my injuries. I heard Mahmud Gurbanov gave a statement today," said the editor-in-chief, who added that he will file an appeal with the court.

Gurbanov told IRFS that he went to the editorial offices of "Komanda" newspaper and an incident occurred between him and Ergun. However, he denied causing damage to the editorial office.

"I did not have any intention of getting into a fight when I went to the editorial office. They used insulting words and made me angry. Then Rashad and I had an argument. However, I have always respected journalists," said Gurbanov.

IRFS was told by the Nasimi District Police Unit #20 duty service that they would not give any information because the investigator on this case was not in the unit.

"Komanda" sports newspaper has been operating since 2008.

IRFS condemns the attack on the "Komanda" offices and considers this an attack against freedom of expression. IRFS believes this case is a violation of the law and that journalists have the right to freely express themselves, as guaranteed by local and international law.

IRFS calls on law enforcement agencies to investigate this issue and take necessary legal steps.

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