Azerbaijan: Journalist receives death threats

English PEN is alarmed by reports that newspaper journalist Faramaz Allahverdiyev (Nozruzoglu) has received death threats related to his writings. We are calling for an investigation into these reports, for those found guilty to be brought to prosecution and for an end to all attacks against writers and journalists in Azerbaijan.

Faramaz Allahverdiyev, journalist for Nota Bene newspaper, reportedly received threatening calls to his mobile in mid February 2008. He has since told the Institute for Reporters Freedom and Safety (IRFS) based in Baku, that the calls were from different people. He stated that ‘the essence of (the) calls was the same; they all demanded that the publication of my novel Girl’s Spring Tragedy, which was printed in Nota Bene after my release, be stopped. They threatened me with statements like “the murderers of Elmar Huseynov have not been found yet, yours will not be found either”.’

Allahverdiyev’s novel Girl’s Spring Tragedy was published in two parts in Nota Bene newspaper in January and February 2008. The novel is based on real people and events in Azerbaijan over the past 20-30 years, although pseudonyms are used to disguise the identities of the characters, many of whom currently hold high-ranking positions in Azerbaijan’s government.

Allahverdiyev has filed complaints about these threatening calls with the Ministry of the Interior, the Prosecutors Office and the Ministry of National Security.

Background:

Faramaz Allahverdiyev was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment on 30 January 2007 on charges of criminal libel after Nota Bene newspaper published an article he had written concerning the Azerbaijani Interior Minister. The editor in chief of Nota Bene was also charged and sentenced to a levy on his salary for 18 months. Faramaz Allahverdiyev was released along with four other journalists under a Presidential pardon on 28 December 2007.

Press freedom in Azerbaijan has deteriorated in recent years and there has been an increase in the use of defamation as a way of silencing dissenting voices. In 2005 Elmar Huseynov, a journalist for Monitor newspaper, was killed.  Huseynov was well known for his criticism of Azerbaijani authorities and many believe his murder was connected to his writing.

Please send appeals:

· Urging that an investigation into the alleged death threats against Faramaz Allahverdiyev be fully investigated and any person found guilty be brought to prosecution;
· Calling for an end to the imprisonment and harassment of journalists in Azerbaijan when exercising their right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
 
Addresses:
 
President Ilham Aliyev
Office of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic
19 Istiqlaliyyat Street
Baku AZ1066

Azerbaijan
Fax: 00 994 12 492 0625
 
Minister of Internal Affairs
Lt.-Gen. Ramil Usubov
Ministry of Internal Affairs
Husu Hajiyev Street 7

370005 Baku

Azerbaijan
Fax:  994 12 492 45 90

It may be more effective, however, to send the above appeals via the Azerbaijani representative in London:

H.E. Mr Fakhraddin Gurbanov
4 Kensington Court
London
W8 5DL

Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/bulletins/azerbaijanjournalistreceivesdeaththreats/

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