17 October 2011


Court proceedings against journalists' attackers continue

(IRFS/IFEX) - Court proceedings in the assault case of American citizen Amanda Erickson and British citizen and IRFS employee Celia Davies continued on 13 October 2011 at the Sabail District Court. Judge Elchin Gurbanov presided over the hearing. The two women were viciously assaulted when they were walking home in June. Davies sustained a broken arm in the attack.

Defendants Adil Tagizadeh, Roman Hasanov, Vusal Gurbanov and Nazim Huseynov have been charged under Articles 221.2.1 and 127.1 of the Criminal Code: hooliganism committed by a group of persons and inflicting intentional minor bodily harm.

Davies' legal representative, Elchin Sadigov, told Objective TV that the court provided the journalist with an interpreter. An earlier hearing was suspended after the British Embassy objected to serious inaccuracies in the court-supplied translator's interpretation. Sadigov expressed concern about deliberate mistranslation. For this hearing, Davies brought a freelance translator, but the court did not allow him to work officially. "He was able to pick up on inaccuracies in the official translation, which I raised as objections," said Sadigov.

Davies gave her testimony again. She reported that on the night of 15 June she and Erickson were assaulted by four unknown persons. They were thrown to the ground and kicked. The journalist said that she did not see the faces of their attackers and could not identify them.

"The accused persons claimed they approached the women because they wanted to get acquainted with them, in direct contradiction to what they said during the last hearing, when they claimed they wanted to help the women," Sadigov said.

In addition to cooperating with local NGOs, Davies and Erickson have held trainings for journalists and civil society activists. Erickson has published articles in the "Washington Post" and "New York Times", including one on the demolition of NGO director Leyla Yunus' office.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for October 27.


Putting free expression issues in perspective.

Sign up to receive IFEX In Context.

More on this case

IRFS employee, American journalist beaten in Baku 17 June 2011
More from Azerbaijan
  • Freedom on the Net 2017: Azerbaijan

    Azerbaijani human rights defenders were targeted in a spearphishing campaign, in attempts to install malware on their devices and track their online activity

  • Freedom of the Press 2017: Azerbaijan

    The parliament tightened legal restrictions on media freedom, broadening the scope of existing criminal defamation legislation in November and amending martial law in December to expand permissible information controls.

  • Freedom of the Press 2016: Azerbaijan

    Rasim Aliyev, an independent reporter and acting chair of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS), died in August after being severely beaten; it remained unclear at year’s end whether the assailants’ motive was connected to Aliyev’s journalistic work.

At this point, would publish: "Home page"
At this point, would publish: "IRFS staffer, freelance journalist attacked"
At this point, would publish: "IRFS employee, American journalist beaten in Baku"
IFEX is a global network of committed organisations working to defend and promote free expression.
Permission is granted for material on this website to be reproduced or republished in whole or in part provided the source member and/or IFEX is cited with a link to the original item.