Second anniversary of journalist Rasim Aliyev’s murder marked in Azerbaijan
Nine August marks two years since the murder of journalist Rasim Aliyev. A group of journalists, political figures and representatives of the Azerbaijani community paid tribute to his memory in his native village of Mehtiabad, in the vicinity of Baku.
On 8 August 2015, Rasim Aliyev was beaten by relatives and fans of Javid Huseynov, an Azerbaijan national team player. The footballer felt insulted by the journalist’s social media comment, in which he criticized Huseynov for displaying an abusive hand gesture to a Cypriot journalist. “I don’t want a footballer who is ignorant, unethical and unable to behave himself to represent my country in Europe,” read Aliyev’s comment. After a series of phone threats, the football player’s relatives arranged a meeting with Rasim and severely beat him, five against one.
Rasim Aliyev was taken to hospital with severe injuries. His ribs were broken and he was diagnosed with internal hemorrhage. The journalist died early on 9 August.
The court sentenced the five individuals involved in the assault to 9-13 years in prison. Javid Huseynov was sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment for ‘not reporting and concealing a grave crime’. However, he was released after serving 1 year and 2 months in prison. He is currently defending the Azerbaijan national team colors.
Some prominent journalists and public figures made statements at Rasim Aliyev’s grave.
“An atmosphere of impunity has been formed in the country. Everyone thinks that he can beat a journalist,” said Shahveled Chobanoglu, a journalist.
Isa Gambar and Arif Hajili, the leaders of the opposition Musavat party, also slammed the government’s media policy.
“This government is a killer of dissidents. Every time we commemorate a murdered journalist, we remind the authorities that they won’t achieve anything through killing the journalists,” said Isa Gambar, ex-leader of the Musavat party.
Khadija Ismayil, an investigative journalist and a former prisoner of conscience, said:
“Rasim’s grave is actually a monument. It’s a monument to corruption, mediocre medicine, decadent judiciary and a lack of justice that prevail in the country.”
This photo features Rasim’s mother and girlfriend, as well as Isa Gambar and Khadija Ismayil.