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Oil Firm Condemns Azerbaijani Journalist's Beating, But Says He Provoked Violence

Azerbaijani journalist Idrak Abbasov recovers from his beating in a Baku hospital.
BAKU -- Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR has condemned the beating of an award-winning journalist but accused him of provoking the violence.

Prominient Azerbaijani journalist Idrak Abbasov was hospitalized on April 18 after he and several other journalists were assaulted by SOCAR security personnel.

The journalists were attacked while filming a confrontation that erupted when SOCAR employees were demolishing houses in the village of Sulutepe on the outskirts of the capital, Baku.

SOCAR legal department chief Eldar Orujev told journalists on April 19 that investigations had been launched into the incident.

He added that Abbasov was interested in the confrontation as he and his relatives had illegally raised houses in Sulutepe and provoked local residents to come out against the company's employees.

The OSCE and international human rights groups condemned the Abbasov beating.

With reporting by AFP