International PEN is alarmed by reports that newspaper journalist Faramaz Allahverdiyev (Nozruzoglu) has received death threats related to his writing. PEN calls for an investigation into these reports, for those found guilty to be brought to prosecution, and for an end to all attacks against writers and journalists in Azerbaijan.

Background Information

Faramaz Allahverdiyev, journalist for Nota Bene newspaper, reportedly received threatening calls to his mobile phone in mid February 2008. Allahverdiyev told the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety in Baku that the calls were from different people. He added: "the essence of the calls was the same; they all demanded that the publication of my novel Girl’s Spring Tragedy, which was printed in Nota Bene after my release, be stopped. They threatened me with statements like ‘the murderers of Elmar Huseynov have not been found yet, yours will not be found either.' "
 
Allahverdiyev’s novel Girl’s Spring Tragedy was published in two parts in Nota Bene in January and February 2008. The novel is based on real people and events in Azerbaijan over the past 20 to 30 years, although pseudonyms are used to disguise the identities of the characters, many of whom currently hold high-ranking positions in Azerbaijan’s government.
 
Allahverdiyev has filed complaints about these threatening calls with the Ministry of the Interior, the Prosecutors Office, and the Ministry of National Security.
 
Faramaz Allahverdiyev was sentenced to two and a half years' imprisonment on January 30, 2007, on charges of criminal libel, after Nota Bene newspaper published an article he had written concerning the Azerbaijani interior minister. The editor-in-chief of Nota Bene was also charged and sentenced to a levy on his salary for 18 months. Allahverdiyev was released along with four other journalists under a presidential pardon on December 28, 2007.
 
Press freedom in Azerbaijan has deteriorated in recent years and there has been an increase in the use of defamation as a way of silencing dissenting voices. In 2005, Elmar Huseynov, a journalist for Monitor newspaper, was killed. Huseynov was well-known for his criticism of Azerbaijani authorities and many believe his murder was connected to his writing.

Write A Letter

  • calling for an investigation into the alleged death threats against Faramaz Allahverdiyev and for any person found guilty to be brought to prosecution;
  • calling for an end to the imprisonment and harassment in Azerbaijan of journalists practicing their right to freedom of expression as guaranteed under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

Send Your Letter To

President Ilham Aliyev
Office of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic
19 Istiqlaliyyat Street
Baku AZ1066 Azerbaijan
Fax: 00 994 12 492 0625
E-mail: president@gov.az
 
Minister of Internal Affairs
Lt.-Gen. Ramil Usubov
Ministry of Internal Affairs
Husu Hajiyev Street 7, 370005
Baku, Azerbaijan
Fax:  + 994 12 492 45 90
 
Please contact PEN if sending appeals after March 13, 2008.