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Opposition journalist attacked

(GDF/IFEX) - Ramid Ibragimov, a reporter for the Azerbaijani newspaper "Bizim Yol", was beaten up by unidentified persons in Baku on November 26, 2010.

A scandalous campaign to pull down houses is underway on Fizuli, Topchubashe and Badalbeili Streets, with mayoral officials, supported by the police, driving out residents who are unwilling to leave their homes for meager compensation. The authorities intend to build a "Winter Garden" where historic architectural buildings used to stand.

The journalist was attacked while taking photographs to illustrate a story he was writing in response to local residents' complaints. He was approached by three plain-clothed men who demanded that he erase the pictures he had taken. He refused, showing his journalist ID and explaining that he was fulfilling an editorial assignment. The men then took away his camera by force and broke it, and beat Ibragimov severely.

That was not the first attack on independent or opposition media reporters in Azerbaijan this year. On February 18, Zulfugar Heyirkhabar of SalamNews was similarly beaten up while taking photos for a news story. On July 28 Elmin Badalov of the newspaper "Yeni Musavat" and Anar Gheraily, deputy editor of the newspaper "Milli Yol", were ruthlessly beaten in the village of Mardakan, in the so-called "rich men's block", while photographing the villa belonging to a relative of Azerbaijan's transport minister. On August 30, two unknown thugs attacked the prominent sports reporter Rasul Shukyursoy, stabbing him with a knife. The journalist recently published a series of articles in the newspaper "Komanda A" criticizing Azerbaijani authorities. He has received several threatening e-mail messages over the past few days, he said.

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