Cathal Sheerin

Komarov’s colleagues believe that the attack was connected to his work. Komarov frequently wrote about corruption, embezzlement of city budget funds, administrative incompetence, illegal construction and prison conditions.

Protesters hold copies of the "Cumhuriyet" newspaper and placards during a demonstration in front of a courthouse in Istanbul, Turkey, 31 October 2017, YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images

April was a grim month for press freedom, with a young journalist shot dead in Northern Ireland, Julian Assange facing extradition to the US, and cartoonist Musa Kart and colleagues returning to jail. But there was also good LGBTQI+ rights news from Turkey and justice in a 20-year-old murder case in Serbia…

Police officers detain anti-government protesters during a rally in Almaty, Kazakhstan, 22 March 2019, REUTERS/Pavel Mikheyev

Europe and Central Asia in March: A mass release of prisoners in Azerbaijan, a step towards justice for Ján Kuciak, the EU Copyright Directive, injustice in Chechnya, a new report on violence against women, protesters arrested in Kazakhstan, an EU Magnitsky Act and more….

A projection on the facade of the city hall shows the portraits of murdered journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova, in Bratislava, Slovakia, 20 February 2019, VLADIMIR SIMICEK/AFP/Getty Images

Cathal Sheerin, our Europe & Central Asia editor, reviews a month packed with challenges for freedom of expression in the region.

Protesters carry a banner with the portraits of Azerbaijani political prisoners during a demonstration for press freedom, in Berlin, Germany, 21 January 2015, Maurizio Gambarini/picture alliance via Getty Images

Good news from Azerbaijan, anti-LGBTI+ violence in Chechnya, an IFEX member on trial in Turkey, journalists targeted by protesters across Europe, dubious convictions in Tajikistan and Montenegro, demonstrators demand protection of independent press in Serbia and Hungary.

An Azerbaijani opposition supporter holds a placard reading 'Where is democracy?' during a protest against a scheduled referendum in Baku, 17 September 2016, Aziz Karimov/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

IFEX members have been among those calling for the charges against Huseynov to be dropped and for him to be unconditionally released.

az.wikipedia.org

Azerbaijani IFEX member and long-time critic of President Aliyev’s regime, Mehman Huseynov, faces dubious assault charges just two months before he is due to be released from jail.

A woman dressed as the French Republic national symbol 'La Marianne' walks on the Champs Elysee during a yellow vest protest, in Paris, France, 29 December 2018, Bruno Thevenin/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Mass protests in France and Hungary, Russia wants its own Internet; state media attacks independent journalists across the region; Greek broadcaster points finger at government over bombing; investigation into shooting of Olivera Lakic stalls; black women 84% more likely to be targeted by online trolls than white women….

Dawit Isaak, https://freedawit.com/english/

Björn Tunbäck of Reporters Without Borders (Sweden) and Swedish PEN has been involved in the campaign for journalist Dawit Isak’s release from the start. He told Cathal Sheerin about the campaign in Sweden and what states and intergovernmental organisations could be doing, but aren’t.

A demonstrator holds a photo of anti-corruption activist Kateryna Handziuk, a candle and a placard reading in Ukrainian "Who are the Murderers of Katia Handziuk?" during a rally outside the Interior Ministry in Kyiv, 4 November 2018, Danil Shamkin / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Europe and Central Asia: Ukrainian activist murdered, masterminds indentified in Daphne murder case, Turkey targets civil society, feminists take on fascists in Spain, Tajikistan copies China’s Internet crackdown, Eiffel Tower dimmed for murdered journalists and more….

Two men hold pictures of murdered Bulgarian journalist Viktoria Marinova (C) and murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya (L), during a vigil in Sofia, Bulgaria, 8 October 2018, NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images

Europe and Central Asia: Journalists murdered, art vs misogyny in Tajikistan, two Russian publications threatened, Ireland rejects blasphemy, vaguely-worded counterterror legislation in the UK, vigils for Daphne, prejudice fails spectacularly in Romania…

A Russian police officer apprehends a youth during a protest rally against planned increases to the nationwide pension age in Saint Petersburg, 9 September 2018, OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images

Arrests in the Jan Kuciak murder case, a Kyrgyz music video causes uproar, MEPs scrutinise Malta, a poisoning in Russia, UK spies on an IFEX member, terrorist propaganda trials in Turkey, insulting religious sentiment in Spain, an IFEX member goes to the ECtHR and more…

A portrait of Taner Kılıç, chair of Amnesty Turkey, is hung in front of a historic stock market building, in Paris, France, 6 June 2018; Kılıç was released on 15 August, FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images

Europe and Central Asia: Welcome prisoner releases in Turkey, Tajikistan and Azerbaijan, mass targeting of journalists in Romania and Belarus, the far-right targets literature in Ukraine and the UK, an IFEX member denied parole, and more…

A woman holds a portrait of slain Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya during a rally marking the 10th anniversary of her murder in Moscow, 7 October 2016, NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images

Europe and Central Asia: Journalist murdered in Russia, ECHR rules in favour of Pussy Riot and Anna Politkovskaya, CoE members expelled following Azerbaijani bribery scandal, IFEX member held incommunicado, UK surveillance and more in our round-up of July’s free expression news.