Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

Arrests in Case of Rasim Aliyev's Death

12 August 2015

Police in Azerbaijan have arrested six people including Javid Huseynov, a leading Azeri footballer, suspected of severely beating Rasim Aliyev, a human rights activist and football reporter on August 9. Rasim Aliyev who was head of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) media monitoring group died in hospital the next day as a result of his injuries.

Aliyev had earlier criticised Huseynov, an internation player from the Gabala football team, on Facebook as "ignorant and unable to behave himself" after the Azeri international player waved a Turkish flag after a match in Baku between Gabala and Apollon Limassol from Cyprus in which Huseynov had scored the winning goal.

Aliyev was lured to a meeting with relatives of Huseynov who said they wanted to talk about the flag waving incident and he was beaten when he arrived. Before he died he told Meydan TV about the assault .

The IRFS claims the City Clinical Hospital failed to care for Aliyev adequately and was responsible for his death. The civil rights group says that another independent reporter Rafiq Tagi died in similar circumstances in the same hospital in November 2011 and have demanded the punishment of those responsible.

The death of Rasim Aliyev has been reported widely in the international sports press and President Ilham Aliyev (the two are not related) has condemned the assault saying he is taking personal interest in the investigation.

The Gabala football Club has suspended Huseynov while the investigation continues.

Dunja Mijatovic, the OSCE freedom of speech reporter, has called on the Azeri President to cease freedom of speech violations and release reporters who are currently imprisoned.

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