Photojournalist Diana Markosian on assignment for Bloomberg agency, arrived at Baku airport on Monday night, was detained and then deported to Istanbul on Tuesday evening. According to the Director of the Institute of Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) Emin Huseynov, Markosian said that all her documents are in order, but she has been detained because of her Armenian surname.
Markosian has dual citizenship — American and Russian — and she arrived in Baku with a Russian passport. Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Elkhan Polukhov said that she did not have accreditation.
According to Polukhov, Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry had received a request to accredit Bloomberg agency representative Michael Smith. After the request was granted, the ministry received a letter that Smith will be accompanied by a photographer Dianae Kazarian (in the appeal to the Foreign Ministry the name of the press photographer was noted this way), reports Contact.az.
The official reply to the Bloomberg agency asked to postpone the visit in order to consider the appeal on Kazarian’s accreditation, because it is impossible to provide security for Kazarian in such a short period of time. However, Bloomberg did not take into account this formal notification from Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry, said Polukhov. Currently, Michael Smith is already in Baku, and there are no obstacles for his activity, he added.
“I am extremely surprised at what happened. For three weeks, we have been negotiating with Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry and attempting to get permission for my arrival. Your foreign ministry official asked for 10 days to settle all the issues,” Markosian told Turan news agency.
According to Markosian, after all necessary documents were submitted, she was permitted to visit Baku; however, she was denied entry at the airport.
“Everything can be understood, even the ban on entry, but why promise that which you can’t deliver?” she said in a phone conversation with Turan agency.