Forbidden Stories continues work of imprisoned Azerbaijani journalists

In November 2023, several journalists and a member of the administrative team from Abzas, an online investigative media focusing on human rights in Azerbaijan, were arrested by the country’s authorities. A few days later, Forbidden Stories, an international consortium of investigative journalists, announced that it was continuing Abzas’s work on several investigations in partnership with a dozen international media organisations including FRANCE 24.

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Alongside a consortium of investigative journalists, RFI and FRANCE 24 are continuing the investigations of imprisoned journalists from independent Azerbaijani news outlet Abzas Media. This work, published since Thursday, February 1 by a dozen partner media organisations* brought together by Forbidden Stories, lifts the veil on several cases Azerbaijani authorities would apparently prefer to keep quiet. Members of the consortium worked on several investigations into activities centred around a gold mine, acts of torture committed in the country’s prisons and how international tensions are weighing on presidential elections.

Torture continues in Azerbaijan’s jails, but so does European cooperation

In the run-up to Azerbaijan’s February 7 presidential election, the repression of President Ilham Aliyev’s opponents, as well as NGOs and independent journalists still active in the country, has intensified. Daniel Vallot, Karina Chabour and Roméo Langlois investigate the practice of torture in Azerbaijani detention centres. The journalists also examine the continuing cooperation between European institutions and the country’s judicial and prison systems.

Watch moreThe Baku Connection in Azerbaijan: ‘They won’t stop our investigations by arresting us’

Daniel Vallot, a journalist with RFI’s international service, and FRANCE 24 reporters Karina Chabour and Roméo Langlois conducted this investigation available on RFI’s evening news programme on Thursday, February 1 and in the morning of Friday, February 2, as well as on FRANCE 24 on Friday, February 2.

Western Azerbaijan’s Gedabek gold mine

The Gedabek gold mine, which has been operated by a British company since 2012, is a source of great tension in Azerbaijan. In June 2023, residents of Söyüdlü, in the western part of the country, held protests against plans to create a second lake to store waste from the mine. They believe that the first lake, located 400 metres from their village, is polluting the soil and water, and say that cyanide vapours are causing respiratory illnesses in the area. FRANCE 24 reporter Corentin Bainier collected the testimonies of activists and local residents and interviewed experts to shed light on the risks caused by the project.

Bainier’s report will be available on the FRANCE 24 Observers website on Friday, February 2.

*Among others: The Guardian, Le Monde, RTS, IRPI (Italy) Le Monde, Radio France, Knack, Le Soir, NRC (Netherlands), ZDF (Germany), Der Standard (Austria)

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