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U.S. Journalist, British Activist Assaulted In Azerbaijan


*Correction appended

BAKU -- An American journalist and British human rights activist were reportedly attacked and beaten in Baku late on June 15, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Reports say four athletic young men followed journalist Amanda Erickson and activist Celia Davies as they were walking to their apartments and then attacked them near the National Drama Theater.

Davies reportedly has a broken arm from the assault.

The U.S. Embassy in Baku said today it is aware of the crime and embassy personnel are providing assistance to the victims. It said questions about the investigation should be addressed to Azerbaijani police.

Amanda Erickson told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service today that she and Davies "think there were no motives for us to be attacked." She said they did not want to comment further on the issue.

Orkhan Mansurzadeh of the Azerbaijani Interior Ministry told RFE/RL that the issue needs to be investigated.

"It does not matter whether the victim is an Azerbaijani or a foreign citizen," he said. "Any crime victim should contact the police. The necessary measures will be taken if they do so. The motive will become known during the investigation."

Erickson and Davies have been conducting training for local journalists and civil society activists in Baku.

Erickson has published articles in "The Washington Post" and "The New York Times."

She also recently published an article in the "Columbia Journalism Review" about RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service host Khadija Ismayilova.

"Ismayilova avoids satire, which is what landed the two bloggers [Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli] in jail," she wrote. "And she's one of the few popular female journalists in what is still a male-dominated profession. In Azerbaijan, it is taboo to jail a woman, and public opinion would likely turn on the government if the police were to beat up Ismayilova," the article reads.

Read more in Azerbaijani here

* An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Celia Davies as Celia Davies Carys.