The editor-in-chief of an Azeri opposition magazine has been killed in front of his home in Baku. Elmar Huseynov was reportedly shot several times in his heart while walking out of the lift at about 1700 GMT, news agency Turan reported. The magazine, Monitor, is strongly critical of Azeri authorities and President Ikham Aliyev. Huseynov had been sued for defamation after accusing local officials of behaving like the Sicilian Mafia.
Monitor, one of the country’s most radical publications, had been banned by the government one year ago. Human rights groups have already linked the murder to the man’s journalistic activities. “Huseynov became the victim of his citizen’s activism – this is terrorism against the press,” said Arzul Abdullayeva, a representative of the international Helsinki human rights committee in Azerbaijan.
An employee with the magazine, who witnessed the murder, has alleged that Huseynov might have been the victim of a contract killing.
“When Huseynov was leaving a lift in his apartment block the lights went off,” the man, who asked to remain anonymous, told Reuters news agency.
“Then I heard several pistol shots, and when the light was back, Huseynov was dead.”
Only two days ago, two opposition journalists said they had been detained and beaten up by the police.
Mr Aliyev succeeded his father as president in 2003.
The elections were criticised by international observers, and were followed by violent protests.
Several opposition leaders were jailed in connection with the riots.