Chechen Journalist Arrested and Freed in Azerbaijan
On October 13, Asya Umarova, one of the most promising young journalists in Chechnya , has been arrested and freed in Azerbaijan.
Asya Umarova traveled to Azerbaijan after attending a journalism seminar entitled “Journalists for Peace” in Tbilisi, Georgia, on October 12, 2009 which was attended other journalists from different parts of Caucasus. Andrei Babitsky, the well-known journalist of Radio Liberty, lead to seminar in Tblisi. It doesn’t known why Asya Umarova didn’t back to Chechnya and went to Azerbaijan. Information of her arrest has been reported in Russian and other regional media. According to last news from Azerbaijan, Asya Umarova freed, the reason of her arrest was crossing stamp of Armenia border in her passport.
Asya will only turn 24 years old in this November, but she is already an accomplished journalist and activist. She has been writing articles about the situation in Chechnya, especially about highly sensitive issues of armed conflict and human rights for local and international media outlets for several years, while pursuing a journalism degree at Chechen State University, where she graduated in 2008. In spring 2007, she won the prestigious Minorities Fellowship of the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and spent several months in Geneva and Strasbourg , receiving training in international human rights law and practice. In 2008, she received a fellowship to pursue a one-year professional course in journalism at the Caucasus Institute in Erevan , Armenia , from which she graduated in summer 2009. In addition to studying and working as a journalist, Asya has also volunteered with local and international human rights and conflict resolution initiatives, beginning her activism when she was only a teenager. She has traveled to Europe and around the Caucasus to engage in advocacy, training and professional exchanges, driven by a hunger to learn and become the most professional and effective journalist she could be as well as an expert on human rights.