Journalist Rasim Aliyev killed in Azerbaijan after criticising a football player on Facebook

Aliyev was beaten by a group of men who lured him to a meeting, claiming to be relatives of the footballer

Doug Bolton
Monday 10 August 2015 22:26 BST
Javid Huseynov, seen here playing for Azerbaijan against Germany in 2009
Javid Huseynov, seen here playing for Azerbaijan against Germany in 2009

A journalist from Azerbaijan was killed after he was attacked by football fans for criticising a popular footballer.

Journalist Rasim Aliyev said on Facebook that Javid Huseynov, striker for the Gabala FK football team, should be banned from football after he allegedly made a rude gesture at a Cypriot journalist.

Huseynov also waved a Turkish flag after a 6 August match with Cypriot football team Apollon Limassol, a gesture that would be offensive to some Cypriots due to the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974 and the subsequent partition of the country.

Huseynov apparently made the rude gesture after a Greek journalist asked him why he had waved the Turkish flag.

Local media reported that Mr Aliye was lured to meet someone who claimed to be a relative of the player in the nation's capital, Baku.

He was then beaten up by a group of people, and later died of internal bleeding.

In his post, Mr Aliyev wrote that Huseynov "did not know how to behave", and called him "immoral and ill-bred" for his conduct.

Local media reports, citing Baku police sources, said that several men have been detained in connection with his death.

The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, has ordered a "swift and comprehensive" investigation into the journalist's death, with an aide telling the state news agency Azartac that he was "seriously concerned" about the attack, and would oversee the investigation personally.

After Aliyev's death, Gabala FK issued a statement saying Huseynov had been suspended from the team until the "issue is clarified."

As reported by the BBC, Aflatun Amasov, head of the county's Press Council, said the journalist's death must "not be politicised".

But despite his instruction, Azerbaijan remains a dangerous place for journalists to work.

It is currently ranked 162nd out of 180 countries on Reporters Without Borders' press freedom index. The Committee to Protect Journalists says that nine journalists are currently imprisoned in Azerbaijan, all for criticising the government in their reporting.

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