Anniversary of a murder
The Mekhdiabad Cemetery is far away from Baku. That is why a bus was hired for those who wanted to commemorate Rasim Aliev, the journalist murdered on this same day last year.
Rasim was buried on a family site in the far corner of the cemetery with undersized pines and yellowish Apsheron sand. The day of his commemoration happened to be unbearably hot.
The murder of a journalist always comes as a shock. With the attitude towards the media in Azerbaijan taken into account, the sequence of events is easy to imagine: the contract murder of a free journalist, an unfair investigation, the killers not punished. Last year both the media community and human rights activists were indignant at the news that Rasim Aliev had been beaten to death by the relatives and friends of Javid Guseinov, the soccer player, criticized by Rasim Aliev on social media. In fact, it turned out that Rasim was murdered over a Facebook post.
The day after the beating, Rasim died at Semashko Hospital. His family and those of the defendants wanted the doctors to be held responsible but were unsuccessful, according to Fariz Namazly, the lawyer of the Aliev family.
Elshan Ismailov, Jamad Mamedov and three others were found guilty and sentenced to prison, with terms varying from 9 to 13 years. Javid Guseinov was sentenced to 4 years in prison.
The investigation process has been under journalist scrutiny, with ANN.Az, Rasim’s employer (he was in charge of the video production) leading the effort.
This year Rasim’s colleagues, other journalists, civil activists and even officials came to commemorate him. “Musavat ex-leader Isa Gambar, who also took part in the event, stated: “This was a murder in the name of politics, as the Azerbaijan authorities had been putting constant pressure on freedom of speech and independent media syndicates.
Mekhman Aliev, “Turan agency director, said, “Rasim Aliev was one of the few professional journalists left, and his death is a huge loss for independent media. The authorities are to blame for having unfair policies concerning athletes and the national elite and marginalizing journalists, he also added, citing the absence of a ruling party of representatives and members of the “Press Council at the funeral, as an example. “Press Council is the only institution allowed to defend the rights of journalists.
Tatyana Kryuchkina, a journalist from the Institute for Free and Safe Reporting (IFSR) stated: “Rasim Aliev, ex-leader of our organization was murdered last year. His death and other journalists deaths have not been investigated to the fullest extent possible. Recently, ANS TV was taken off the air for broadcasting an interview to someone’s dislike. Independent TV and other media are practically non-existant in the country.
The Institute for Free and Safe Reporting, led earlier by Emin Guseinov (now a political emigree) and Rasul Jafarov (political prisoner recently released from jail), was meant to defend the rights of journalists and the common people. Two years ago the IFSR office was closed down following a police raid. After that Rasim Aliev on several occasions wrote on his FB page that he felt threatened.
Even though Rasim Aliev’s murder was not caused by his professional activity, many of his colleagues believe that the absence of independent justice and the political situation in Azerbaijan make the life of a journalist dangerous, since they cannot count on protection of the state like an athlete can. At least, that is the widespread opinion.
Nevertheless, ann.az, in commemorating Rasim Aliev, stated that the investigation would now be led by the president.
Published on 13.08.2016