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Six Years Later And Despite A Presidential Promise, Azeri Journalist's Murder Unsolved

Journalists, politicians, and admirers visit the grave on March 2 of Elmar Huseynov, who was killed in 2005 in Baku.
Journalists, politicians, and admirers visit the grave on March 2 of Elmar Huseynov, who was killed in 2005 in Baku.
Six years have passed since the killing of Elmar Huseynov, a prominent Azerbaijani journalist and editor-in-chief of the now-defunct opposition magazine "Monitor," but his murder remains unsolved.

Huseynov founded "Monitor" in 1996 and was subsequently a constant victim of harassment by authorities.

Government officials tried to shut down the magazine, confiscated its print runs, lodged libel cases in the courts, and pressured Baku print houses to refuse to print it.

Prior to his death, Huseynov had received threats and was concerned for his safety.

Huseynov was shot seven times at the threshold of his apartment on March 2, 2005. Former colleagues and rights groups have linked the murder to his journalistic activities.

Every year a group of friends, opposition politicians, journalists, and civil-society representatives mark the anniversary of his death by visiting his grave.

They still hope that one day Huseynov's murderers will be brought to justice, but the prospects of the crime being solved in the near future are bleak.

Immediately after Huseynov's murder, President Ilham Aliyev convened an extraordinary meeting of the Security Council and vowed to find the killer within 40 days.

Azerbaijani authorities claim they have found his murderers -- Georgian citizens Tahir Khubanov and Teymuraz Aliyev -- but Georgia refuses to hand them over.

Georgia says the Azerbaijani side has failed to present any evidence.

Huseynov's widow, Rushana Huseynova, has submitted an appeal to the European Court for Human Rights over the Azerbaijani government's failure to solve her husband's murder.

Meanwhile, a friend and former colleague, Eynulla Fatullayev, tried to investigate Huseynov's murder independently but was himself arrested and imprisoned in April 2007 on libel charges.

Fatullayev is still in jail despite a decision by the European Court of Human Rights asking that the Azerbaijani government release him immediately.

-- Ali Novruzov

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