Independent journalist Aynur Elgunesh received a series threatening phone calls on October 4. She described her experience on her Facebook profile page.
According to Elgunesh’s own account, during the afternoon a woman giving her name as Elnare – an employee of “Azerbaijan” Information Agency – called up. Elnare said that she was being blackmailed by Jannat Jannatov, who was apparently threatening to publish personal information if she failed to pay him a certain amount of money. Elnare gave Elgunesh the telephone number of Jannatov.
Intending to look into the complaint, Elgunesh called the number and introduced herself as an independent journalist.
“I told him that I had received claims of blackmail. I asked him to what degree they were founded. The man asked what press agency I worked with; of course, I mentioned Meydan TV and all the other press organizations I have previously worked with. Without saying anything, he hung up, and my question remained unanswered. About five minutes later, he phoned back and began insulting me, along with several other individuals and groups – including [opposition politician] Isa Qambar and Meydan TV. He said, ‘oppositionists like you have to be stamped out!’, along with a few more colorful expressions.”
Following this exchange, Elgunesh got in touch with the head of the Press Council, Aflatun Amashov. “I said that a complaint had been lodged against someone named Jannat Jannatov, who was connected with press organizations such as aia.az. I told him he had mocked and harassed me. Aflatun said that he had never heard of such an organization; did he not know of Jannatov; and that he was abroad. He would not return until 10th of October, and would not look into the issue before then.”
However, Elgunesh continued to receive a relentless barrage of threatening phone calls from the man throughout the day:
“After he had called me close to ten times, I finally answered him, after which he began to insult and threaten me. I recorded his voice, which I told him. He quieted down, but continued mocking and harassing me. I blocked his number, and afterwards he started calling and threatening me from blocked numbers. He told me that he would find me.”
The man’s threats escalated during the course of the phone calls. He warned Elgunesh, “I will mess you up so bad you will never again be able to show your face again!“
“At the end of his call he warned me that my life was in his hands, and that I would soon meet my fate. He even told me that thinking about me had made him so angry that he had crashed his car, and that I should pay for his expenses.”
Elgunesh reported the incident to her lawyer, who advised her to call the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ 102 service. The journalist will lodge a formal complaint in Khatai District Police Station No. 36 on the 5th.