Friday Wrap-up: Yagublu’s meeting, journalist repression and CPJ statement

An artist’s representation of an act of oppression towards a journalist. Source: Meydan TV.

The week of February 14-18 saw Tofiq Yagublu meeting with the US Ambassador, journalists beaten by policemen and the new Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) statement on Azerbaijan.

Tofig Yagublu met with the US Ambassador

Tofig Yagublu, a political activist member of oppostion party Musavat, and his lawyer Nemat Karimli met with US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Lee Litzenberger on February 10.

According to Yagublu, they discussed views on the socio-political situation in Azerbaijan. His torture complaint and its aftermaths were also brought up in the meeting. The Ambassador affirmed that the US embassy is following closely the incident, and received additional information from Yagublu and Karimli about it.

Tofig Yagublu was detained during a protest in December 2021 and was visibly tortured by police agents. A court decision refused to open a criminal case on his complaint because the prosecutor’s office concluded that there were no signs of torture in the images of Yagublu spread on social media. The investigation concluded that the activist was in fact “beating himself“.

Repression on a protest covering in Baku

During a protest on February 15, journalists Fatima Movlamli and Sevinj Sadigov were detained by policemen during after covering a protest in front of the Presidential Administration.

They were aggressively requested to delete the recording and almost had their cellphones confiscated. Both journalists were forced into a police vehicle and taken to the police station, where they claim they were beaten.

The incident happened with the premise that Movlami and Sadigobv were not registered as journalists, therefore, they could not be involved on media activities. This is a new rule established by the media law signed by President Ilham Aliyev on February 9, 2022, a legislation widely criticized both national and internationally.

CPJ: “Azerbaijani authorities must fully investigate the claims of journalists”

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released a statement regarding the detention and aggression to journalists Fatima Movlamli and Sevinj Sadigov on February 15.

As stated by CPJ, Azerbaijani authorities should investigate allegations of police violence against the detained journalists in Baku and allow all members of the media to work freely. In addition, the document claims that journalists of pro-government and more critical outlets should be free to cover demonstrations without fear of arbitrary arrest or police violence alike.

CPJ appealed to the Azerbaijani Interior Ministry by e-mail for a comment, but received no response.

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