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Azerbaijan: Investigation into Huseynov murder

JOINT ACTION - AZERBAIJAN

Participants at IFEX General Meeting call for investigation into Huseynov murder

SOURCE: Journalists' Trade Union (JuHI), Baku

**For further information on the Huseynov case, see IFEX alerts of 22 June, 5 May, 12 April and 2 March 2005**

(JuHI/IFEX) - The following statement was issued at the IFEX General Meeting in Brussels, Belgium, and is endorsed by the signatories below:

Statement on the case of Elmar Huseynov, Azerbaijan

19-24 February 2006
Brussels, Belgium

We, the undersigned participants of the International Freedom of _Expression eXchange (IFEX) General Meeting and conference held in Brussels, Belgium on February 19-24, 2006, taking into consideration the violent killing of Elmar Huseynov, a prominent and outspoken journalist in Azerbaijan, call on the government of the aforementioned country to take the necessary steps to ensure a timely and proper investigation of this murder.

We firmly believe that this killing was ordered to avenge Elmar Huseynov's criticism of government officials, including the president of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev. We suspect that the killing may have been ordered by high ranking officials who in fact do nothing to disclose the people who ordered and executed this murder. Azerbaijan, which is frequently on the lists of international organizations as one of the worst countries in the world for press freedom, should act in accordance with its obligations taken before the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the UN and other international bodies, to ensure the right of the people to freedom of _expression, including the freedom to criticize.

Elmar Huseynov, a prominent and outspoken journalist and editor-in-chief of the Russian language magazine "Monitor", was shot seven times while returning home on March 2, 2005. The prosecutor general's office later identified three suspects in the crime. One of these persons was tried and imprisoned for allegedly buying a mobile phone for the other two individuals, who likely committed the killing. While the prosecutor general's office has disclosed the names of these people, it refuses to publish their photos, which has aroused some suspicion around the government's involvement in the murder.

Once again we would like to call on the president, Ilham Aliyev, and his government to act in a proper manner to ensure a timely disclosure and prosecution of this crime.

Signed,

Adil Soz, Kazakhstan
Africa Free Media Foundation (AFMF), Kenya
Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo.net)
ARTICLE 19, UK
Cartoonists Rights Network (CRN)
Center for Human Rights and Democratic Studies (CEHURDES), Nepal
Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations (CJES), Russia
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), Philippines
Center For Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP), Liberia
Centre for Independent Journalism, Malaysia
Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social (CENCOS), Mexico
Ethiopian Free Press Journalists' Association (EFJA)
Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ)
Foundation for Freedom of the Press (FLIP), Colombia
Free Media Movement (FMM), Sri Lanka
Globe International, Mongolia
Hong Kong Journalists Association
Index on Censorship, UK
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
International Press Institute (IPI)
IPS Communications Foundation (BIANET), Turkey
Journalists' Trade Union (JuHI), Azerbaijan
Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Ghana
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Namibia
Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Nigeria
Media Watch, Bangladesh
Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), Australia
NANSMIT, Tajikistan
National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)
Norwegian PEN
Observatory for the Freedom of Press, Publishing and Creation (OLPEC)
PROBIDAD, El Salvador
Southern Caucasian Freedom of _Expression Network (CASCFEN), Azerbaijan
Thai Journalists Association
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC)
World Press Freedom Committee

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