The severe beating of members of journalist Idrak Abbasov’s family and the partial destruction of their home in a Baku suburb with an excavator on 9 September on the grounds that it was built illegally have highlighted the surprising brutality of the methods sometimes used by the Azerbaijani authorities to censor and intimidate.
The attack was carried out by security personnel working for the state-owned Binagadi Oil Company, whose illegal activities were being investigated by Abbasov, a member of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS), an Azerbaijani NGO.
“This was a punitive action,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This attack was clearly designed to silence Abbasov, whose investigative reporting disturbed the Binagadi Oil Company. It sheds a harsh light on the methods used to intimidate journalists in Azerbaijan. As well as directly threatening and attacking journalists themselves, the authorities do not hesitate to target their families.”
The house where Abbasov’s relatives had been living for the past 25 years in the Baku suburb of Sulutepe was invaded by men dressed in black at around 11 a.m. on 9 September without any prior eviction notice being served.