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Azerbaijan20 July 2004

Editor of opposition daily abducted and beaten

Reporters Without Borders has called for a thorough investigation after Aydin Gouliev, the editor of opposition daily Baki Khaber, was abducted and beaten up in the capital Baku on 17 July.

The international press freedom organisation urged interior minister, Ramil Usubov, to ensure the perpetrators of the assault were found and punished and to do everything possible to protect Gouliev.

The journalist described how four masked men abducted him late in the evening and bundled him into a van. They then gagged him and pushed his head into a plastic bag, insulting and threatening him. They accused him of failing to serve "his country and Islam" and told him to drop all his journalistic work.

After several hours, they stopped the vehicle on the outskirts of the town and threw him onto the roadside.

Gouliev said his newspaper had never carried any articles against Islam and that he believed the accusations were intended to cover the real reasons for the attack, which could well have been ordered by the government. Baki Khaber is very critical of the authorities.

The journalist said he had been receiving phone threats for around ten days prior to his abduction, adding that, "no power would make me change course".

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