2007: Azerbaijan: Rafiq Tagi and Samir Sadagatoglu

20 May 2007

The President
His Excellency Ilham Aliyev
Office of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic
19 Istiqlaliyyat Street
Baku AZ1066 Azerbaijan
Fax: 00 994 12 492 0625
Email: president@gov.az

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

Your Excellency,

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,

Yours sincerely,

Trine Kleven
Member of Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN

COPIES TO:
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo

2007: Azerbaijan: Rafiq Tagi, Samir Sadagatoglu

January 19th 07

President Ilham Aliyev
Office of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic
Baku

Your Excellency

Norwegian PEN, the Norwegian section of International PEN, a non-political association of writers, expresses severe concern regarding Rafiq Tagi and Samir Sadagatoglu, who are both under prosecution and death threats because of their written and spoken opinions. It is reported that hey are being kept in detention awaiting a trial, and that this term is being extended without trial and a formal verdict. PEN calls for the release of Rafiq Tagi and Samir Sadagatoglu and that they be protected from attack and that any person who threatens their lives be brought to prosecution.

We consider the detention of these two men to be in direct violation of their right to freedom of expression. International PEN is appalled by calls that the two men be executed and the threats against their families. We are of the opinion that the imprisonment for an article published in a newspaper is in clear breach of international standards protecting the right to freedom of expression, notably Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Azerbaijan is a signatory.

Your Excellency, we urge you to look into these cases and make sure that the two men are being released and that all further threats to their families must be brought to an end.

Yours sincerely

Aase Gjerdrum
Member of Norwegian PEN,