30 November 2011

IFEX members outraged by death of prominent journalist in hospital


This is available in:

English Français Español
IFEX members are demanding answers from the Azerbaijani government after outspoken journalist and writer Rafiq Tagi died in hospital on 23 November following a stabbing attack. The International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan (IPGA) issued a joint statement condemning his murder and calling for an end to the impunity that threatens Azerbaijani journalists.

According to the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS), Rafiq Tagi, editor in chief of the newspaper "Senet" and a vocal critic of the authorities, was stabbed multiple times outside his home in Baku by an unknown assailant on 19 November. While Tagi initially showed some signs of recovery in hospital and even held press interviews, he was "apparently left on his own in the hospital without appropriate medical or security supervision," IRFS reports.

While in hospital, Tagi told journalists he suspected the attacker "who was very nervous and did not say a word" was motivated by pro-Iranian forces. Tagi had recently written an opinion piece for a local website that charged Iran with discrediting the religion of Islam and poked fun at threats Iran had made against Azerbaijan, according to the International Press Institute (IPI).

Following Tagi's death on the International Day to End Impunity, IRFS condemned the "Azerbaijani government's indifference to journalism and freedom of the press that contributed to the death."

Noting that "Azerbaijani authorities have a poor record of investigating attacks against journalists," IPGA issued a statement signed by 10 human rights organisations calling for a thorough investigation into Tagi's death. Among the signatories are IFEX members ARTICLE 19, Human Rights Watch, Index on Censorship, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), PEN International and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said the government's failure to hold anyone responsible for the murder of publisher Elmar Huseynov in 2005 sets "a bad precedent" for justice in Tagi's case.

Putting free expression issues in perspective.

Sign up to receive IFEX In Context.

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"
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.