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Journalists assaulted, threatened in Nakhchiyan

(IRFS/IFEX) - IRFS correspondent to Nakhchivan Elman Abbasov and Turan Information Agency correspondent Ilgar Nasibov were assaulted by Sharur District police officers while preparing a news report in Jalil village of Sharur on July 15, 2011. The journalists were beaten, their photography equipment and video cameras were seized and the records deleted, Elman Abbasov reported to IRFS.

"Having received an appeal from IRFS correspondent to Nakhchivan Hakimeldostu Mehdiyev, we visited Jalil village to prepare a news report about the assault on his house. Although we had our journalist ID cards on us, the police attacked us and demanded that we stop filming in the village. We told them that it was our professional duty. However, the police officers ignored us, hit me and tried to seize my camera, breaking it as a result. The police attacked me three times in an hour, beating me and trying to arrest me. In the end, residents took me away from the area, and hid me in their house," said Elman Abbasov. He also said that police officers intended to arrest him; However, Mehdiyev and his family's interference saved him.

Journalist Ilgar Nasibov faced similar attacks and incurred injuries. Police Chief Mammad Huseynov insulted Ilgar Nasibov and ordered police officers to arrest him. Nasibov was forced into a police car where he was assaulted for 15 minutes. Nasibov incurred injuries as a result.

Nasibov added that the police also attacked another IRFS correspondent to Nakhchivan, Mehman Mehdiyev, and attempted to detain him, but he succeeded in escaping every time. However, police captain Kamal Abdullayev openly stated before the residents that he will have him arrested under any charge.

After the diplomatic corps and media representatives were informed of the incident, the police and undercover agents left the scene and gave back the equipment seized from the journalists. However, the recordings had been deleted.

The pressures on the journalists began following the visit of "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" correspondent and political commentator Michael Ludwig to Nakhchivan. Ludwig had to leave Nakhchivan as a result of pressure imposed by local authorities. The fact that the foreign journalist was accompanied by Mehdiyev during his visit to Sadarak region disappointed the local authorities, who then decided to punish Mehdiyev.

On July 13, executive deputy head of Sharur district Aladdin Mammadov, along with several persons, arrived at Hakimeldostu Mehdiyev's house, pressured him and cut off the power supply to the small car-washing station he runs. He was again assaulted on July 15 with regard to the same issue. Elman Abbasov and Ilgar Nasibov had arrived at the scene to investigate the incident.

IRFS strongly condemns the violence against the journalists by the executive deputy head of Sharur district and police officers.

IRFS calls on the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic authorities to create favorable conditions for journalists and punish those who pressure them. IRFS also calls on President Ilham Aliyev to intervene in the media situation in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, ensure safe conditions for the work of journalists and punish those who put pressure on them.

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