20 May 2007
His Excellency Ilham Aliyev
Office of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic
19 Istiqlaliyyat Street
Baku AZ1066 Azerbaijan
Fax: 00 994 12 492 0625
Minister of Internal Affairs
Lt.-Gen. Ramil Usubov
Ministry of Internal Affairs
Husu Hajiyev Street 7, 370005 Baku, Azerbaijan
Fax: 00 994 12 92 45 90
As a member of Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN, I am deeply concerned by the sentences served against writer Rafiq Tagi and editor Samir Sadagatoglu.
They have been heavily sentenced for an article comparing European and Islamic traditions. We are concerned about the death threats made against them, and we are welcoming the Azerbaijan prosecutor general’s statement that clearly indicates opposition to such calls. I seek your assurance, Your Excellency, for the continued protection of their families and themselves against attack.
We believe that writer Rafiq Tagi and editor Samir Sadagatoglu are detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression, and I call for their immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Azerbaijan is a signatory.
Confident that you, Your Excellency, will take action accordingly, I remain,
Member of Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo