New York, September 21, 2000 — Azeri editor Rauf Arifoglu, jailed since August 22 on charges of terrorism, illegal possession of arms, and attempted hijacking, has been hit with a new charge of “calling for a coup d’etat.” If convicted on all counts, he could be sentenced for up to 25 years in prison.
According to local press reports, the new charges are based on a “linguistic” analysis of articles published in Yeni Musavat, the opposition daily edited by Arifoglu.
Arifoglu was arrested on August 22, four days after the hijacker, a member of the opposition Musavat party, telephoned Yeni Musavat and asked Arifoglu to publish his demands. The editor was arrested for collaborating with the hijacking; a search of Arifoglu’s apartment turned up a handgun. Arifoflu has rejected all charges, and says the gun was planted.
CPJ condemned the arrest in a letter sent to Azeri President Heider Aliyev on August 24.
“The ever escalating charges against Arifoglu make clear that this is a political vendetta,” noted CPJ Europe program coordinator Alex Lupis. “We strongly urge the Azeri government to end its harassment of this journalist and ensure his immediate and unconditional release.”
AZERBAIJAN: Another editor interrogated in connection with hijacking
Posted Sept. 5, 2000
AZERBAIJAN: Newspaper editor charged in hijacking
Posted Sept. 1, 2000
AZERBAIJAN: Press on strike to protest government crackdown
Posted August 25, 2000 [Read CPJ’s protest letter]