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Azeri investigative journalist gunned down in front of home

TI calls for a speedy and full investigation and reiterates the essential nature of a free press in combating corruption

Transparency International (TI) is shocked and deeply saddened to hear of death of Elmar Huseynov, a prominent, outspoken investigative journalist and Editor-in-Chief of Monitor magazine. Mr Huseynov was brutally gunned down on Wednesday in front of his home, in an apparent contract killing. His murder is by far the most serious case in a long list of assaults on journalists in Azerbaijan. TI is the leading global non-governmental organisation devoted to combating corruption.

"I am shocked to hear that such a thing can happen in Azerbaijan. While the circumstances of his death are still not clear, it is very likely that this murder is a direct result of his activities as an investigative journalist," said Peter Eigen, Chairman of Transparency International. He continues, "Fighting corruption in Azerbaijan is essential, and bold investigative journalism is key to rooting out corruption. After many years of cover-ups, I hope that the recent arrests in Ukraine of the alleged killers of investigative journalist Georgiy Gongadze, send a clear message to those who attempt to brutally silence investigative journalists. I call upon the Azeri authorities to investigate the case as quickly and thoroughly as possible and to bring the perpetrators to justice."

Monitor magazine, the publication edited by Mr Huseynov, is sharply critical of the Azeri authorities. Mr Huseynov had been sued for defamation after likening local officials to the Sicilian Mafia.

Rena Safaralieva, Executive Director of Transparency International Azerbaijan, welcomed President Ilham Aliyev's assurances of a full investigation. "The government has frequently stated its intention to fight corruption in Azerbaijan. A full, open and transparent investigation of this savage murder is essential for the credibility of these declarations", said Safaralieva.

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