9 September 2002
Journalists receive death threats
(RSF/IFEX) - On 5 September 2002, RSF expressed concern over death threats received by journalists at the Azerbaijani opposition daily "Khurriyet", including its editor-in-chief Aydyn Guliyev. The threats came after the newspaper ran an article accusing a senior customs official, Mudariz Panakhov, of being involved in petrol trafficking.
"These threats must be taken seriously. The editor's call to the authorities to provide protection has gone unanswered," said the organisation's secretary-general Robert Ménard in a letter to Interior Minister Ramil Usubov. "We support his request and urge you to do everything possible to ensure the safety of the journalists at the newspaper."
According to information gathered by RSF, individuals who said they were friends of Panakhov reportedly made death threats against Guliyev and other journalists at the newspaper. The unknown assailants stated that they would blow up "Khurriyet"'s offices if any more articles appeared. On 30 August, the newspaper had printed an article entitled "Sadarak customs and the millions", which reported on petrol trafficking between the Azerbaijani and Turkish border worth US$7 million annually. On 3 September, unidentified vehicles crashed into Guliyev's car.