Independent journalist beaten at police station in Baku
Azerbaijani police beat up independent journalist
During the coverage of the protest action in Baku, three journalists representing independent publications were detained. One of them, Fatima Movlamli, was beaten at the police station. This is the first case of detention of journalists after the law “On Media”, criticized by local and international experts, has come into force in Azerbaijan.
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On the morning of February 15, 2022, several mothers of Azerbaijani servicemen who died outside of the battlefield held a protest in front of the presidential administration building. The women demanded that their sons be given martyr status.
The status of a martyr in Azerbaijan is granted to those who died in war and during the combat missions. This status entitles their families to receive a one-time payment of 11,000 manats [$6,470], improved living conditions and a monthly financial allowance.
During the filming of the protest, three journalists representing independent publications were detained – Fatima Movlamli, Sevinj Sadigova and Teymur Kerimov.
Soon, Teymur Karimov announced on his social media page that he had been detained by employees of a specialized state security service. He received an injury to his hand. Karimov was released shortly after his arrest.
Journalists Fatima Movlamli and Sevinj Sadygova were taken to the police station. They were released a few hours later.
Detained Fatima Movlamli told JAMnews about her experience at the police station.
“During the filming, the police attacked us and took away the phone of Sevinj Sadigova. I didn’t let them take my phone. They put me in a car and took me to the police station.
As soon as I entered the branch building, they gave me a trip, and I fell. Nobody touched Sevinj.
As soon as I fell, they started kicking me. It was terrible. They swore very obscenely. They said that they were tired of me, that “I never learn”.
They picked me up and took me to the emergency room. There, the entire leadership of the department was already waiting for me, and they started humiliating me in front of them again. I also did not leave these insults unanswered. Angered by my answers, they once again threw me on the floor and started beating me.
Later we were taken to the main city police department. We were told to write a statement. But I replied that I would not write any statements there, and would complain to the Prosecutor General’s Office. If you want to help me, then help me get the CCTV footage from the police station. I was told that the video cameras there might be faulty.
Tomorrow morning I will go for a medical examination of the bodily injuries I received. And then I’ll write a statement to the prosecutor’s office about the illegal actions of police officers”, said Movlamli, an employee of the opposition Azadlyg newspaper.
This is the first case of detention of journalists after the entry into force of the Law on Media in Azerbaijan.
This document, adopted by the Azerbaijani Parliament on December 30, 2021, and signed by the President on February 8, 2022, caused was harshly criticised by the expert community both within Azerbaijan and beyond. The law “On Media” practically deprives employees of independent publications of the status of a journalist.