Press Watchdog ‘Appalled’ at Expulsion of Azeri Reporter from Nakhichevan

Reporter Yafez Hasanov

NEW YORK—The press watchdog group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) issued an announcement Tuesday decrying the recent abduction and expulsion of Azeri reported, Yafez Hasanov from Nakhichevan.

Below is the RSF announcement:

Reporters Without Borders is appalled by the unacceptable escalation in harassment of the media by the authorities in Nakhchivan, an autonomous Azerbaijani exclave between Armenia and Iran, especially last week’s expulsion of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty reporter Yafez Hasanov.

Hasanov was abducted on 31 August by three unidentified men in plain-clothes using the kind of car that government security officials normally drive. They drove him to the Iranian border and told him to return to the Azerbaijani capital of Baku via Iran. If he set foot in Nakhchivan during the next month, “it will cost you,” they told him.

“After death threats and intimidation, Nakhchivan’s authorities are displaying exceptional inventiveness in expanding their already complete repressive arsenal against the media,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“Their latest invention, deporting a journalist from his own country to one that criminalizes journalism, shows a complete contempt for legal appearances and a feeling of complete impunity. How far will they have to go before the central government and the international community decide to do something to half this escalation?”

Hasanov had gone to the Julfa district of Nakhchivan to investigate Turac Zeynalov’s death in detention, a story that the local authorities are trying at all costs to suppress because it exposes the cruelty of the methods they use. Hasanov’s abductors told him not to meddle, took his passport and returned it with an exit stamp when they reached the border. Once inside Iran, Hasanov managed to return to Baku by taxi the next day. This entailed a degree of risk as RFE/ RL has been classified as an “illegal organization” by the Iranian authorities.

Malahat Nasibova (Малахат Насибовa), a Nakhchivan-based reporter for the independent news agency Turan, has meanwhile been subjected to intense pressure since receiving a summons from the Ministry of National Security (MNS) for trying to interview members of the Zeynalov family.

She and her husband have received death threats by telephone and SMS in recent days. After she reported that an MNS official had called her an “enemy of the people,” the official’s mother threatened her yesterday outside her home. “Who are you to quote my son’s name on the Internet,” the woman said. “You will see what I can do to you. You can do nothing against us. The MNS supports us.”

At a news conference on 2 September, Nasibova described the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic as a “laboratory of repression” for the rest of the country. “The repressive methods tested in Nakhchivan are then applied on a larger scale throughout Azerbaijan,” she said. “It was in Nakhchivan that demonstrators were first confined to a psychiatric hospital. It was in Nakhchivan that journalists were kidnapped for the first time.”

There was no comment from the government in Baku in response to her comments about human rights violations in this remote province. The deafening silence makes an international reaction all the more urgent, so that violations of this kind do not spread to the rest of the country.

Reporters Without Borders joins Nasibova and other journalists and human rights activists in urging the national media and foreign embassy personnel to go to Nakhchivan in order to shed light on these unacceptable practices.


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  1. Elena said:

    Where are our all time azeri friends who visit this website and Sometimes leave childish comments. What’s your comment on this one?

  2. Pongo said:

    My deepest sympathy and solidarity to Mr Yafez Hasanov, and to all other journalists trying to report the truth under repressive regimes.
    He is an Azeri man, maybe one day he’ll fight against Armenia as many other Azeris, but we must owe him respect and tribute him honour, as he surely deserves it.
    Honour to Mr Yafez Hasanov!

    • Suleymanoglu said:

      Pongo, I gotta admit, you should be doing stand up. What you wrote above is just hilarious. 😀
      —“He is an Azeri man, maybe one day he’ll fight against Armenia as many other Azeris, but we must owe him respect and tribute him honour, as he surely deserves it.”—
      I really like your logic and I love the fact that you respect 9 million other Azerbaijanis who are ready to die on the battlefield.
      You deserve my respect as well. See you in Shusha for kebab mate.

      • Avery said:

        How many of those mythical 9 million ‘Azeris’ will join you Suleymanoglu Bey ?
        What is an ‘Azeri’ anyway ? there is no so-called ‘Azeri’ ethnos. It is the same as ‘Soviet Man': it’s a made up, phony nationality.

        Last time around the Aliyev clan had to abduct teenagers from the streets of Baku to forcibly send them to the front to die for their hubris.
        Which one of these ethnic groups that live in the fake country of ‘Azerbaijan’ will fight for the Aliyev clan (…who BTW are ethnic Kurds, not even Turks). Will it be the: Tats, Talishes, Udins, Lezgins, Zakhors, Luitsis, Avars, Kurds ?

        Will you be one of the first in invade Artsakh, Suleymanoglu Bey ?
        Are you willing to be one of the first to die for the Aliyev clan ?

  3. Suleymanoglu said:

    Mr. Hasanov, as a reporter without a border, I kindly ask you to travel to Shusha and prepare a report about this ancient Turkic city.

    • Avery said:

      Yes, Mr. Hasanov, you’ll be welcomed in the ancient Armenian Historic City of Shushi. The city that Armenians built, while Turkic nomadic tribes were galloping between their yurts in the Mongolian Steppes.

      You’ll be treated with traditional Artsakhtsi hospitality. Of course, you need to come in peace.

    • Vahe said:

      Ancient turkic city LOL !! Armenia is the only surviving country from the WORLD’S OLDEST MAP !! Why does it not mention ‘azerbaijan’ or ‘turkey’ ? Think hard oglu. Do some research on how many historians (not azeri or turkish) mention most of eastern turkey to northern iran to today’s artificial country ‘azerbaijan’ being mostly ARMENIAN.
      Armenians started the oil industry in Baku. I’m sure it kills you knowing this. So 9 million azeris are ready to die on the battlefield ? LOL…so where the f**k were they in the early 90’s ? Were they not aware that Armenian’s were taking what was rightfully theirs ?
      Their homeland of thousands of years ? Not only did we take Artsakh back, we took 7 of ‘your regions’ and made us a nice and secure secuirity zone. All your ‘9 million brave soldiers’ was did was run like B*tches…look on youtube where Armenian soldiers are you using your own tanks against you LOL. We used mostly azeri weapons to defeat you Tatar clowns. There is no such thing as ‘Azeri or azerbaijan’…your tatars who had a name change in 1918…and decided to turkify all the other minorities living within your ‘borders’.
      There has never been a country called ‘azerbaijan’ before 1918. There has never been a mention of a race known as ‘azeri or azerbaijani’ before 1918. Your fake country was created to TRY and erase Armenia and claim northern IRAN’s Azerbaijan provinces as your own. But you failed miserably with deafeating Armenia…so you will definitely fail trying to take Iran’s lands..LOL. Miserable Azeri people, it sucks being you, no language no alphabet no culture…everything stolen from other people and your so proud of it all. LOL.

  4. Armenian said:

    LOL “ancient Turkic city”? The words ancient and Turkic do not go together. Neither do common sense/knowledge, either, apparently. Turkic presence in Anatolia and the Caucasus barely goes back 1,000 years. Wake up from your fabricated and idiotic hallucinations.