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Azerbaijan14 March 2008

Reporter stabbed in chest outside opposition newspaper

Agil Khalil, a reporter with the opposition daily Azadlig, was stabbed in the chest by two unidentified men outside the newspaper at about 7:45 last night as he was leaving to go home. His editor said his injuries were serious but not life-threatening.

“Physical attacks against Azadlig journalists are frequent,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Yesterday’s attack against Khali was extremely serious and we urge the Azerbaijani authorities to investigate it thoroughly with the aim of identifying not only the perpetrators but also anyone who may have been behind it.”

Khalil said that he had been followed for several days and believed the attack was instigated by officials whom he had accused in articles of conducting illegal land transactions. They had already tried without success to persuade him not to publish the articles.

He was previously the target of a physical attack on 22 February when participants in a suspicious transaction spotted him filming them with a concealed camera. Bystanders came to his rescue.

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