Rasim Aliyev, 32 died August 9 following fatal beating not far from his home. He was attacked by a group of unknown men on the street with his wallet and phone stolen. Aliyev, who was a freelance reporter posted on his Facebook some days before the beating a status criticizing a local soccer player Javid Huseynov for his indecent behavior during the game in Cyprus.
Huseynov, was arrested by the authorities August 11 and is currently in custody. He is accused of intentionally hiding the crime.
On August 18, some media representatives wrote a letter to President Aliyev requesting that the soccer player is released on bail until the trial.
“We reach out to You, as someone who has protected the flag’s honor when ensuring Ramil Safarov’s release, when constructing the Baku’s Flag Square, when raising Azerbaijan’s flag during the European Games as the national anthem was sung”, reads the letter signed by 17 media representatives.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of our colleague. We also appreciate you taking full interest in this case, which make us believe that the perpetrators will surely be punished. But Javid Huseynov was merely protesting the insult towards Azerbaijani flag. The goal he scored at the end of this game was not only about taking the team to the next level in the league but also about protecting our national and sporting honor.”
The letter received a lot of criticism online on social networks. Many have criticized the journalists who signed the letter.
Lawyer Alasgar Mammadli wrote on his Facebook status that the appeal requesting release from custody should first be sent to the court rather than the president. “A group of journalists just highlighted the dire situation of courts in this country by signing this letter. In functioning democracies, the appeal requesting the change of detention measure should be addressed not to the President but to the court”.
Rasim Aliyev’s mother, Seyfura Aliyeva expressed her shock when she saw the news about the letter. “I cannot believe that colleagues of a journalist would ask bailing out a man whose name is involved in the murder of another journalist?! I just cannot believe this!”
The Public Prosecutor office says Rasim Aliyev was beaten by Elshen Ismayilov (relative of Javid Huseynov) with his four acquaintances on August 8. Aliyev died of internal bleeding on August 9.