Tuesday, August 11

A little more than just obscene hand gesture

So turns out soccer player Javid Huseynov whose name is directly linked [for now at least] to the death of journalist Rasim Aliyev didn't just wave a Turkish flag at the game between Azerbaijan's Gebele and Cypriot Apollon Limassol game on August 6. 

There were already tensions before the game between the teams and special requests were made to keep the tension low and hope for a friendly match. 

That didn't happen. 

One rumor circulating online was that at some point during the game Apollon's fans allegedly attempted at burning down Azerbaijani flag. 

Then there is the player Javid's pumped fist right after his score during penalty time.

Also, as if the fist wasn't enough, Javid waved the Turkish flag during the game. And when a local journalist asked about the flag Javid snapped, making another gesture and leaving hastily. 

Apollon Limasson hoped that UEFA will ban the player and punish the team but no such thing happened. Javid remained on the team while the team itself didn't get even a warning. Just a little side not here: Azerbaijan is preparing to host UEFA European under 17 Championship in 2016 and is bidding to host and on September 19th 2014, the Baku Olympic Stadium won the right to host one of the quarter-final matches and three group stage matches of Euro 2020 which will unfold across 13 UEFA member countries. Not to mention its other sporting events the country is ready to host.

But back to Rasim's case there are few more interesting details.

While Rasim was at the hospital Javid and the team's manager came to visit him. Javid said the person who called Rasim had no relationship to him but when Rasim asked "how come he knew that we just talked over the phone" the soccer player was stuck. When the police walked into the hospital room for questioning the two left the room immediately. 

Then there is the interview with Rasim's girlfriend who said that the whole medical report presented by the hospital doctor is fake. And here is why: 

"The doctor claims Rasim was taken into surgery 8pm local time. But we talked on the phone at 8.10 local time [either our surgeons are using the state of the art operating technology - which would still make an operation under 10 minutes purely impossible - or they have developed some kind of super human powers - but that too is irrelevant since they would at least be able to fake the report better]. 

The doctor also said Rasim as admitted to the hospital at 7pm, but that is also not true because already around 6 Rasim called me. He told me that he is at the hospital and that I should tell his parents". 

The whole hospital scene raises many questions and not just the timing. 

Rasim suffered from for broken ribs, and ruptured spleen. He was bleeding internally but no one seemed to be too keen on conducting thorough body examination. He was then placed in a normal hospital room, without any doctor supervision only pumped with painkillers. 

So it was natural that hours after the sedation of painkillers was gone Rasim was in much pain. 

According to Rasim's girlfriend and friends who were with Rasim at the hospital at the time, he was taken into operating room only at around 2am after which it was too late to do anything.  

So who is responsible? 

Probably not just the doctor, the soccer player and his relatives. 

Rasim was threatened before. On July 26, he asked for help via Facebook having faced threats online and not knowing what to do. Despite his appeal for help and protection, police refused to help.

In the meantime, Limassol team issued a statement, expressing deep sorrow adding the following:
“Unfortunately, our fears and deep concerns, regarding the unsportsmanlike behaviour of Javid Huseynov, which we conveyed in the most official way to the European Football Association after the first match in Cyprus in July 30, were confirmed in the most tragic way”.
Since the murder, Javid Huseynov was finally detained on August 11 and is charged with "withholding information while knowing of murder". If convicted the soccer player is facing fine in the amount of 5,000AZN and could be jailed for 2 or 3 years. Yes, just that - a man's life is lost, gone forever, and all the soccer player is getting is that.

Stay tuned for more updates on the case.  

Monday, August 10

Keep calm and stop worrying, President Aliyev will get to the bottom of it

President Aliyev, said he is going to closely follow up the murder of Rasim Aliyev. This is perhaps worst development because now that its president who is personally involved in the case, I fear, there wont be any justice. 

On August 10, Aliyev's aid, Ali Hasanov said "Ilham Aliyev sees the death of the journalist as direct threat and intimidation to freedom of speech and information as well as free press". 

Just for your information, President Aliyev promised to find the perpetrators when another journalist Elmar Huseynov was murdered in 2005 (just two years after Aliyev's election as the country's president). Then in 2011 when yet another journalist, Rafig Tagi died following fatal stabbing no progress was made into his case either. 

I fear President Aliyev's hearty message is a signal of yet another murder case go down in history as mystery. 

But if President Aliyev really wants to solve this mystery all he needs to do is let freedom of press, speech, and information really exist in Azerbaijan and independent journalist do their job without constant threats and beating from the police and thugs. 

Or he should simply ask himself a very basic question - when was the last time he met with independent press and why one of the country's most prominent journalists while following her right to speech freedom and freedom of information is currently on trial. Or why, do we have journalists and bloggers in jail? 

It is time to take responsibility for direct actions. Rasim's murder is the result of President and his aids' irresponsible way of ruling this country amid the atmosphere of fear, intimidation, and mafia like leadership.