VIENNA, 18 April 2012 - The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, condemned today the attack on Idrak Abbasov and other Azerbaijani journalists and urged the authorities to bring those responsible to justice.
Abbasov was beaten today by private security guards while filming the demolition of a house in Baku’s Sulu Tepe settlement. He suffered multiple wounds and was taken to hospital.
Abbasov, a reporter with the Zerkalo/Ayna newspaper and the Baku-based Institute for the Freedom and Safety of Reporters, was wearing a yellow reflective vest identifying him as a journalist. Last year, he reported being the target of intimidation attempts, which he linked to his reporting on the demolition of houses in Sulu Tepe.
“Today’s shocking incident is yet more evidence of the climate of violence in which members of the Azerbaijani media community have to perform their professional duties. The authorities must identify and duly prosecute those responsible for this and other attacks on journalists,” Mijatović said.
Reports say that security guards assaulted other journalists who were covering today’s demolition. Among them were Gunay Musayeva of the Yeni Musavat newspaper and an Obyektiv TV crew.
The Representative said she regretted that last year’s attacks on two other journalists - Seymur Haziyev and Ramin Deko of the Azadliq newspaper - had not been solved.
“The Azerbaijani authorities should take resolute steps to end all forms of violence against journalists,” Mijatović said.