The International Press Institute (IPI) today condemned the brutal assault on an American freelance journalist and a British human rights activist in the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku.
Amanda Erickson and Celia Davies Carys were followed to their home at around midnight on 15 June and attacked by four unidentified men outside the women’s apartment building, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported. The attackers reportedly did not say anything to the two women or take any valuables.
Erickson is said to have suffered multiple bruises, and Carys’ left arm was broken.
IPI’s Azerbaijan National Committee said, in a statement: “The IPI National Committee Azerbaijan strongly condemns the beating of any journalists irrespective of nationality or professional affiliation.”
Both Erickson and Carys currently live in Baku and have been working with local NGOs, providing training for civil society activists and journalists, Azeri press reported. Erickson has written for The Washington Post and The New York Times, and Carys reportedly works at the Baku-based Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS).
IPI Press Freedom & Communications Manager Anthony Mills said: “During a recent visit to Azerbaijan with IPI Director Alison Bethel McKenzie, we were assured that the country was committed to the principles of press freedom. We were pleased to hear about the release of journalist Eynulla Fatullayev.
However, we are outraged by this latest attack on a journalist and an activist, which is strongly suggestive of a climate of oppression of the free media. The authorities in Azerbaijan must properly investigate this assault and bring the perpetrators to justice or risk lending support to the idea that such a climate exists.”