Genimet Zakhidov

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Letters   |   Azerbaijan

CPJ urges Azerbaijan to halt its crackdown on the press

Your Excellency: The Committee to Protect Journalists is writing to bring to your attention the deteriorating climate of press freedom in Azerbaijan, which undermines your government's commitments to press freedom and human rights, mars the country's international image, and obstructs the transparency of the upcoming October presidential vote in which you reportedly plan to seek re-election. We call on you to start reversing this trend and allow the press to report freely without fear of imprisonment, attacks, or politicized lawsuits.

Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani editor Zakhidov freed; 3 journalists still jailed

A 2008 poster says: “Freedom for Genimet Zakhidov!” (CPJ)

New York, March 19, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release from prison on Thursday of Azerbaijani editor Genimet Zakhidov, who served more than half of a four-year term on fabricated “hooliganism” charges.

“We're relieved Azerbaijani officials released our colleague Genimet Zakhidov, who served 28 long months in prison in retaliation for his critical journalism,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “We call on authorities to build on this positive step by releasing editor Eynulla Fatullayev and video bloggers Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade, all of whom have been imprisoned for their journalism.”

Attacks on the Press   |   Azerbaijan

Attacks on the Press 2009: Azerbaijan

Top Developments
• Critical reporters jailed for defamation, “hooliganism.”
• CPJ honors imprisoned editor Eynulla Fatullayev.

Key Statistic
68: Novruzali Mamedov’s age when he died in prison after being denied medical care.

Using imprisonment as a crude form of censorship, the authoritarian government of President Ilham Aliyev remained one of the region’s worst jailers of journalists. Authorities allowed one editor to die in state custody after failing to provide adequate medical care and ignoring domestic and international pleas for treatment.

Attacks on the Press   |   Azerbaijan

Attacks on the Press in 2008: Azerbaijan

The Georgia-Russia crisis in August diverted international attention from another strategically important Caucasus country--oil-rich Azerbaijan. The authoritarian president, Ilham Aliyev, gained a new term in a flawed October 15 vote. Aliyev, who effectively inherited the presidency from his father, Heydar, in 2003, defeated six virtual unknowns after top opposition parties boycotted the October vote to protest restrictive new amendments to the election law.

Blog   |   Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan defiant in the face of criticism

A week after the Committee to Protect Journalists released its special report on the current state of press freedom in Azerbaijan, "Finding Elmar's Killers," Ali Hasanov, head of public affairs at the office of President Ilham Aliyev, told local journalists:

"Azerbaijan has done enough work to attain political pluralism, freedom of expression and of the press. We do not accept pretenses to the contrary. We do not accept reports, no matter which international organization is their author. ... The presentation of separate cases as a general tendency is, unfortunately, evidence that this is being done in someone's interest, to benefit certain interested parties." 

September 29, 2008 6:13 PM ET


Dangerous Assignments   |   Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan Special Report: Finding Elmar's Killers

In Azerbaijan, an editor is jailed after investigating the unsolved murder of a colleague. The case has opened a window into widespread abuses in this tightly controlled nation on the Caspian Sea.

Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Genimet Zakhidov sentenced to four years in prison

New York, March 7, 2008—The Committee to Protect Journalists is appalled by the four-year prison term given today to Genimet Zakhidov, editor of the opposition daily Azadlyg (Freedom). Zakhidov was charged with hooliganism and inflicting minor bodily harm in November. He has been in custody ever since.

Zakhidov was secretly brought to the Yasamal District Court in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, at around 11 a.m., where Judge Sudaba Mamedova announced her verdict in an empty courtroom, Zakhidov’s lawyer Elchin Sadygov told CPJ. The journalist plans to appeal the decision.

March 7, 2008 12:00 PM ET


Alerts   |   Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani president pardons five journalists; three left behind bars 

New York, December 28, 2007—The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes today’s pardon of five journalists imprisoned in Azerbaijan, but it calls on President Ilham Aliyev to free the three journalists who remain unjustly jailed.

Samir Sadagatoglu, Rafiq Tagi, Faramaz Novruzoglu, Rovshan Kebirli, and Yashar Agazadeh were among 114 prisoners pardoned by presidential decree. The five had been jailed in 2006 and 2007 on charges of defamation and inciting religious hatred. The Baku-based Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety said the pardoned journalists should be freed by early next week.

December 28, 2007 12:00 PM ET


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