Azerbaijani journalist Ayten Mammadova was attacked, recieved death threats in Baku
Azerbaijani journalist was attacked in Baku
At midnight, an unknown man threatened to kill the journalist because of her professional activities. According to victim Ayten Mammadova, the man who held a knife to her throat demanded that she not write about the unnamed trial.
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On the night of May 8-9, 2022, while returning home in Baku, journalist Ayten Mammadova was attacked in an elevator. The man who entered the elevator after her held a knife to the journalist’s throat and began to threaten her and her young daughter, demanding to “be smart” and not write about the unnamed lawsuit.
“He took me by the throat and pressed it painfully, put a knife to my throat. He told me not to write about the trial. He threatened me because of the mention of his daughter, but did not specify what business he had in mind”, the journalist told colleagues who arrived at the scene immediately after the incident.
Ayten Mammadova is known for covering lawsuits of public interest, as well as investigating hidden details of criminal cases during court proceedings. The journalist also shares this information on her social media page and draws public attention to the suspicious aspects of the scandalous trials.
Recently, Ayten Mammadova has focused on covering the trial of the murder of Narmin Guliyeva, a 10-year-old resident of the Dondar Gushchu village of the Tovuz region of Azerbaijan.
The journalist herself and her close circle are sure that the attack was connected with this case.
Murder of 10-year-old Narmin
In November 2019, a young girl, Narmin, went missing. In January 2020, a burnt corpse of a girl was discovered in the village where she lived. A local resident Ilkin Suleymanov, born in 1973, was detained on suspicion of Narmin’s murder.
In May last year, Ilkin Suleymanov appeared in court and in his testimony stated that he was forced to confess to the murder after being tortured.
During the process, many discrepancies were recorded in the testimonies of witnesses. In connection with this issue, the names of several high-ranking persons are inclined, including the former chief of police of the Tovuz region.
After the murder of Narmin and the contradictions in the trial of the criminal case became public, President Ilham Aliyev took this case under his personal control. This case has gone beyond the ordinary crime.
A criminal case was launched amid attack on journalist
Immediately after the attack, the journalist contacted the police. Law enforcement officers who promptly arrived at the scene took Ayten Mammadova’s testimony. The next morning, she underwent a medical examination – there were traces of a knife blade on the journalist’s throat.
According to the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan, a criminal case has been initiated on the fact of attacking a journalist under Article 134 (threat of murder or infliction of grievous bodily harm) of the country’s criminal code.
Public demands a fair trial
The human rights organization Protection Line together with journalists held a press conference on the fact of the attack on Ayten Mammadova.
“Given that the Azerbaijani authorities have turned their backs on fundamental freedoms, I consider this case a continuation of the process in Azerbaijan that began with the murder of Elmar Huseynov [Editor of the Monitor magazine Elmar Huseynov was killed in 2055, the crime has not yet been solved – JAMnews]. The first bullet was fired at Azerbaijani journalism with the case of Elmar Huseynov, then Rafig Tagi and Rasim Aliyev were killed. These crimes have not yet been solved. And this shows that all these cases are a political order, designed for the forced silence of the media in the country. If the attack on Ayten Mammadova, as well as the named crimes, is not disclosed, all responsibility will fall on the government of Ilham Aliyev, who has committed to ensuring freedom of the press to international organizations”, journalist Shamshad Aga said at a press conference.
A group of journalists and public figures made an open appeal to the president, the interior minister, the head of the state security service and the country’s prosecutor general. The appeal says:
“We emphasize once again that the attack on Ayten Mammadova is an attack on freedom of speech and the press. The knife put to her throat is put to the throat of all journalists. In this regard, we demand from the head of state and law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety of all journalists, the immediate detection and punishment of the criminal and the persons behind him for the safe continuation of their professional activities by journalists”.