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Azeri Killed, Husband Injured In Drive-By Shooting In France

Police officers work near the site where Rahim Namazov and his wife were targeted by gunfire in Colomiers, France.
Police officers work near the site where Rahim Namazov and his wife were targeted by gunfire in Colomiers, France.

An Azeri man living in France has been seriously injured and his wife killed in a drive-by shooting near the southern city of Toulouse, police say.

Rahim Namazov, 39, a father of three, was fighting for his life in a hospital after suffering serious back injuries, while his wife died after being hit in the head in the shooting in front of their home in the Toulouse suburb of Colomiers on March 30.

One of their children, a 15-year-old boy, was in their apartment at the time and heard the gunfire, local authorities told AFP, adding that he was being looked after by a local trauma group.

Namazov left Azerbaijan for France in 2010 and applied for asylum, claiming he was a journalist who had been imprisoned and suffered death threats in the repressive Caucasus country. He was never granted asylum.

The local Toulouse Journalists' Association said it was unable to confirm he was a reporter when he arrived in 2010. The Press Council of Azerbaijan on March 30 said there was no journalist in that country named Rahim Namazov.

Johan Bihr of Reporters Without Borders said on March 30 that the media watchdog group was looking into Namazov's case. He pointed to comments from respected Azeri journalist Khadija Ismayilova that cast doubt on his claim to be a journalist.

Writing on Facebook, Ismayilova, a former contributor to RFE/RL, said that Namazov had pretended to be a journalist to get asylum in France and had recently got into a public argument with a mafia boss on the Internet.

Police said that seven bullets were fired in total at Namazov and his wife as they were parking their car after the couple had dropped their youngest child off at school.

With reporting by AFP
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