Shooting in Toulouse

An Azerbaijani political refugee and his wife received multiple gunshot wounds today in an attack in the south of France. The refugee, who claims to be a journalist, is rumored to have a criminal past.

According to La Depeche, an unknown assailant opened fire on Rahim Namazov and his wife, Aida Namazova, while they were in their car. 39-year-old Rahim Namazov was wounded in the shoulder while Aida Namazova died at the scene.

Rahim Namazov came to France in 2010 and received political asylum. He claimed to be a journalist who was threatened, imprisoned, and tortured for his investigations and criticism of the Azerbaijani government. Journalists in Azerbaijan, however, have cast doubt on Namazov's claims.

Journalist Rey Karimoghlu remembers Namazov from the newspaper “The Disabled” (Əlillər), published by veterans of the Karabakh war. But according to Karimoghlu, Namazov was not a reporter.

“At that time, the chief editor of 'The Disabled,' Mushtaba Ismayiloghlu, hired Rahim Namazov to sell newspapers,” Karimoghlu told Meydan TV. “We didn’t have a journalist by that name. He joined a demonstration by disabled Karabakh veterans in 2001. He was a bit of an emotional young man. He was caught on video and they arrested him. Then he was sentenced to five or six years in prison. Half a year later he was included in [former president] Heydar Aliyev’s amnesty order. Then he disappeared, we didn’t see him. It could be that the chief editor gave him a press card while he worked for us, and then he used that card. I don’t know anything about that.”

In a Facebook post, Aflatun Amashov, chairman of the Azerbaijan Press Council, also said that Namazov was never a journalist.

“As the chairmain of the Azerbaijan Press Council and someone who has worked in media for a long time, I state that there is no journalist named Rahim Namazov,” Amashov writes. “There are dozens of people who have obtained press cards one way or another in order to get asylum abroad. It is very likely that Rahim Namazov is one of them. Therefore we can say that the attack on this person could not be connected with his work as a journalist.”

In Azerbaijan there are unconfirmed reports that Namazov had a criminal past. Report.az writes that he was known in the criminal world as Opasny Roma ("Dangerous Roma") and Rahim Shakinski. On social media, a person known as Rahim Shakinski posted videos in which he hurls obscene insults at well-known figures in organized crime, particularly Nadir Salifov, better known as Lotu Guli.

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