The Azerbaijani President's Aide for Public and Political Affairs Ali Hasanov has commented on the Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland`s statement on the death of Rasim Aliyev, an employee of Ann.az website. “President Ilham Aliyev is deeply concerned about the death of the journalist and rates this incident as a threat to the freedom of speech and information, free activity of the mass media in the country,” said Mr Hasanov.
“The head of state instructed the appropriate authorities of the Republic of Azerbaijan to fully investigate the incident in a short space of time, find the perpetrators and bring them to justice, and the investigation is supervised by him personally.”
“Mr President noted that necessary measures will be continued under his personal supervision to ensure fundamental human rights and principles, including the freedom of speech and information, independence of the mass media, particularly security of journalist activity in Azerbaijan.”
The Presidential Aide said the Office of the Prosecutor General and the Ministry of Internal Affairs have taken immediate measures to investigate the cause of the journalist`s death, find and bring those responsible to justice. “Comprehensive information about the issue has been made public.”
“But Mr Jagland`s statement revealed that he is not well aware of the heart of the matter, of the Azerbaijani government’s position on this incident, of the measures taken and even of who this matter concerns. I believe that there will be no need for such statements from Mr Jagland after he familiarizes himself with what the Azerbaijani government has done to address the issue.”
“As far as the issue of violence against and murder of journalists is concerned, I would emphasize, and practice shows too, that not a single country around the globe is insured against such crimes. The most important is that a government should rate an incident rightly, investigate the issue objectively, punish those responsible in accordance with the law, and also demonstrate strong will and take necessary measures to ensure that such cases do not happen again. The government of Azerbaijan has done all this, and the general public shows understanding and support for the measures taken,” said Mr Hasanov.
“In general, there is a very good dialogue between the Azerbaijani government and civil society institutions – NGOs, political parties, mass media, religious and ethnic minorities. A clear testimony to this is regular meetings between the representatives of the government and civil society institutions, discussion of the issues that the society is concerned about, and joint efforts to address the problems.”
“The government of Azerbaijan has so far appropriately fulfilled all the tasks to ensure the development of the civil society in the country, and is committed to continuing its efforts on this front,” he added.