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Azerbaijan16 July 2007

Slain newspaper editor would have been 40 tomorrow

Reporters Without Borders today voiced its support for the family and friends of slain journalist Elmar Husseynov, the editor of the independent weekly Monitor, who would have been 40 tomorrow.

The Azerbaijani public and press were deeply shocked when he was shot seven times at the entrance to his apartment on 2 March 2005. Many people publicly accused the government of being involved in his murder.

“We went to Baku in April 2005 to look into this case and we have on many occasions urged the judicial authorities to carry out a proper investigation,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The prosecutor’s office recent accused former economic development minister Farkhad Allev of having a role in his death. But there was no follow-up and charges have not been pressed against him. The case is still open but there is no sign of it being solved.”

Husseynov was the target of constant threats and was harassed several times by the authorities. The Monitor went bankrupt after being ordered to pay an exorbitant amount of damages in a libel case in 1996, and it took until 2000 before it was able to resume publishing. In 2001, Hussenynov was sentenced to six months in prison for libel.

President Ilham Aliev was this year added to the Reporters Without Borders list of press freedom predators. As today, seven journalists are in prison.

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