The two journalists spent six days in Baku
interviewing a variety of reporters,
human rights and press freedom defenders, and relatives of the imprisoned journalist,
Borgen told CPJ. They also attended a hearing in the new, drug-related
When the filmmakers collected their luggage on their arrival
in Oslo, their
reporting specifically on Fatullayev was missing. “Our hard disks, containing
all of our sources’ information, our video footage, the physical photos the
Fatullayev family had given us, memory sticks, and memory cards containing all
the photos we had taken in Baku—everything was taken,” Borgen told CPJ. Also
missing was the copy of the recent decision of the European
Court of Human Rights, ordering Fatullayev’s immediate release, Borgen had
taken to read on the plane.
“We are alarmed by this heavy-handed attempt to prevent
reporting on Eynulla Fatullayev’s continued imprisonment in defiance of a
European court order from reaching the outside world,” CPJ Europe and Central
Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova
said. “We hold the authorities responsible for the return of all footage and
journalistic materials, and for the safety of all those Azerbaijanis who helped
the Norwegian crew with their reporting.”
Borgen and Dahl said they were approached at Baku International
Airport by seven
unidentified men after they had cleared security and were about to board a
plane. After arguing with the journalists about their allegedly overweight
luggage, Borgen said, the men took his and Dahl’s carry-on bags. “They told us
that we are not allowed to take a single bag with us on board the plane,”
Borgen told CPJ. When the two protested, the men grew hostile and said the
journalists would get their luggage at the gate. They did not.
Borgen said the crew had sent copies of the reporting back
to Norway before leaving Baku, but he said he fears for the safety of his sources
and fixer in Azerbaijan.
The two journalists said they have reported the incident to the Norwegian
police and foreign ministry.