Security personnel from Azerbaijan’s SOCAR state energy company have assaulted an award-winning investigative journalist, leaving him hospitalized. Gunay Musayeva, a reporter for the Yeni Musavat newspaper, was also beaten and here is what she said: “They beat all the residents of the area, and did not stand on ceremony even with journalists. I was filming oil company workers beating a woman, when just a metre-and-a-half away from me, they knocked Idrak to the ground and started hitting him with sticks and kicking him. When I ran to him, one of the workers grabbed me from behind by my hair and punched me right in the face. Then others came and took my camera away.”
According to an RFE/RL correspondent, Idrak Abbasov was beaten up on April 18 while he and other journalists were filming a confrontation that erupted as SOCAR employees were demolishing houses in the village of Sulutepe on the outskirts of the capital, Baku.
Abbasov’s family said the journalist was now in the hospital and that his condition was serious.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has condemned the attack on Abbasov, with the OSCE representative on freedom of the media, Dunja Mijatovic, calling on the Azerbaijani authorities to “take resolute steps to end all forms of violence against journalists.”
Pro-Democracy Oppositional Public Chamber also made a statement and condemned the assault on the journalist. Public Chamber called on the authorities to stop violence against journalists and fulfill its obligations on the respect for human rights.
Abbasov writes for the “Zerkalo” newspaper and is one of the founding members of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety in Azerbaijan.
Last month, he was awarded an international prize for his reporting by the Index on Censorship campaign group.
See for more text and pictures: http://goo.gl/eU0JW
Also see this in English: http://goo.gl/Bl3aT
Amnesty International statement: http://www.amnesty.org/en/