Azerbaijani Journalist Beaten by Security and Police say Rights Groups

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Human rights groups condemn an attack by security guards and police on an independent journalist in Azerbaijan. Meanwhile state oil company SOCAR promises a thorough investigation and the punishment of their security staff if found guilty of the beating.

On Thursday (April 19), human rights groups condemned the alleged beating of an Azeri journalist by police and state-owned SOCAR oil company security guards.

The attack took place in the outskirts of the capital Baku.

20 security guards from the SOCAR oil company attacked the Azeri independent Mirror Daily reporter, Idrak Abbasov, while he was filming the demolition process on the company’s land on Wednesday (April 18), according to rights groups.

The guards beat Abbasov unconscious and he was later taken to hospital with head injuries.

The brother of the beaten reporter, Vagif Abbasov, told Reuters shortly after visiting his brother in the hospital, that the police were not involved in the attack.

[Vagif Abbasov, Brother of Beaten Reporter Idrak Abbasov]:
"We approached the location and saw that a group of policemen were trying to separate Idrak and the state oil company staff. They were dressed in black, wearing hats, and had helmets and batons. The police did not beat us. They were separating us and did not let them beat people. The problem is the mass demolition of houses (by the state oil company SOCAR) with no legal permission."

Rights groups and Western governments have previously urged Azerbaijan—where government critics have been imprisoned on what supporters call “fabricated charges”—to take steps to ensure freedom of expression and assembly in the country.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are urging authorities to investigate the attack...

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