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Azerbaijan3 March 2007

Case remains unsolved two years after murder of Elmar Husseynov

Reporters Without Borders called on the authorities in Azerbaijan to act to ensure a successful outcome to the stalled investigation into the 2005 murder of journalist Elmar Husseynov.

“It is intolerable that two years after the murder of the opposition journalist, his killers are still at large”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

“The press in Azerbaijan is going through difficult times and the persistent impunity in this case is helping to stoke up a climate of permanent harassment of the opposition press.”

The Press Council held a special conference in Baku on 2 March 2007 to mark the second anniversary of Husseynov’s death, followed by a visit to the cemetery where he is buried. Representatives of the authorities and the pro-government press took no part in the rally in memory of the editor of the weekly Monitor.

“The murder of Elmar Husseynov was intended to intimidate journalists, but in vain,” said Shakhbaz Khuduoglu, editor of the magazine Ganun. The representative (NAME?) of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe in Azerbaijan said, “The council of Europe demands that justice should triumph. Journalists should not be killed. They hold a very special place in our society”.

When US Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights, Barry Lowencron, visited Husseynov’s grave on 18 December 2006 he said that, “Attacks against journalists like Elmar Husseynov have to be viewed as attacks against democracy”.

The journalist was found shot dead in his apartment on 2 March 2005. President Ilham Aliyev called the murder a “provocation of the state” and an “act of terrorism”. Despite these statements, the investigation has gone nowhere.

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