In defense of the last independent newspaper

Rise your voice in defense of the first and the last – Independent newspaper in Azerbaijan – Azadliq


Rise your voice in defense of the first and the last

Independent newspaper in Azerbaijan – Azadliq

To: Cabinet of Ministers of European Union

Committee of Ministers of Council of Europe

Foreign Ministry of UK

Foreign Ministry of France

Foreign Ministry of Germany

Dear Sir/Madam

We apply to You in connection with the threat of closure of the first and, unfortunately, the last independent newspapers in Azerbaijan – Azadliq newspaper – that played a crucial role in the struggle for independence and democracy in our country.

A severe oppression on tribunes of independent and alternative idea has been continuing for many years in Azerbaijan. As a result, all of local independent TV and radios and most of print media were either set out of order, or were obliged to work under control of the government.

Today, the Azadlig newspaper is the only newspaper which still continues printing materials for unmasking illegal activities of the present regime, thus playing an important role in mobilization of the society against illegality. However, due to constant oppression, it experiences a serious threat, which may lead to final suppression. Members of the editorship of the newspaper have faced total financial, moral and physical terror. Its editor-in-chief Ganimat Zahid and satirist Mirza Sakit were arrested, two of other contributors – Agil Khalil and Fikrat Huseynli were obliged to leave the country (both of which underwent physical damage – knifed), its correspondent Ramin Deko was beaten, head of department Seymour Hezi was kidnapped and beaten, shadowed several times (which were proved by facts), the newspaper itself was punished by the government through penalties defined by trials of state courts by political order. On Courts decisions government officials required to pay 65,000 Euros from the newspaper for “insulting” publications (which is huge money for the newspaper with small circulation). Controlled by the government, the “Gasid” newspaper distribution company doesn’t pay the money it received from sales of copies of the newspaper. Another government-controlled organization – the “Azerbaijan” Publishing House refuses to print the newspaper due to its debt to the Publishing House. Cyber attacks to the internet site of the newspaper have become a problem for international internet servers. Obviously, attacks on the newspaper and silencing it are one of the priorities of the government.

Being the main value of democracy, representatives of local and international community have to demonstrate solidarity of efforts regarding to the problem. So, we, those Azerbaijani public figures and politicians who sign this Appeal, call the world democratic leaders to contribute to protection of freedom of speech and expression in Azerbaijan. We declare that it is one of the vital matters for establishment and development of democracy both in Azerbaijan and the peace in the region, which would enable Azerbaijan to hold a positive position in the global security system.

On behalf of the Committee for Defense of Azadliq Newspaper:

Ganimat Zahid, Editor in chief of Azadlig newspaper

Rahim Haciyev, Acting editor of Azadliq newspaper

Jamil Hasanli, Presidential candidate from the National Council

Hikmet Hadjy-zadeh, Political analyst

Khadija Ismayilova, Investigative journalist

Leyla Yunus, Director of Institute for Peace and Democracy

Arif Aliyev, Chairman of “New Generation” Journalists Union

Dr.Leila Alieva, President, Center for National and International Studies

Qubad Ibadoglu, President, Economic Research Center

Azer Mehtiyev, Chairman, Center for Support for Economic Initiatives

Ahmed N. Abbasbeyli, “Development Society and Civil Relations” Center

Ilgar Ibrahimoglu, Imam Jamaat, Juma Mosque Community

Nasrulla Nurullayev,  Chairman, Care for the elderly intellectuals PU

Fuad Hesenov, Democracy Monitor

Mubariz Tagıyev, “In Defense of Human Rights of Oil Workers”

Intigam Aliyev, Chairman of Legal Education Society

Mahammad Talibli,  Chairman, Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA)

Imranova Aytakin, Chairwoman, “Islam, Democracy and Human rights” Center

Letafet Melikova, Chairwoman of  Regional Human Rights and Enlightening Center

Razi Nurullayev, President, “REGION” International Analytical Center (RIAC)

Sevil Allahverdiyeva, Director, Center of Women’s Problems Research CWPR

Khalid Kazimov, Chairman of Regional Human Rights and Media Center

Rafig Tamrazov, Chairman Centre of Equal Opportunities

Mehriban Vazir, Director, Center of Political Culture for Azerbaijani Women

Malahat Murshudlu, Head of Independent Teachers Union

Ilgar Huseynli, President, Social Strategic Studies and Analytically Investigations Center

Alovsat Sadigly, Chairman of Education Research Center

Aslan Ismayilov, famous lawyer

Qulu Maharramli, famous journalist

Rasul Jafarov, Chairman of Human Rights Club

Zaur Akbar, Chairman, “Youth Club”

Emin Huseynov, Chairman of Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety

Rashid Hajili, Chairman of Media Rights Institute

Annagi Hajibeyli, Chairman of Azerbaijani Lawyers Association

Mehman Aliyev, Director of “Turan” Information Agency

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