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Category: European Games 2015

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Parents of man killed in Baku crash call on F1 to improve road safety in city

• Micah Maxwell-Milne killed in accident during European Games last year
• ‘More must be done to protect those travelling to Azerbaijan this summer’

The parents of a British-Australian man killed in a road accident in the run up to last year’s controversial European Games in Baku have called Bernie Ecclestone and the sport’s governing body to do more to improve road safety in the city before its first grand prix in June.

The race will take place almost a year after 23-year-old Micah Maxwell-Milne, who was working for the company staging the opening and closing ceremonies at the European Games, was killed after the Mercedes in which he was travelling collided with a Ford Transit in central Baku.

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Silence over European Games in Azerbaijan is a grim indication of future | Owen Gibson

Poor records in human rights and freedom of the press mean little when wealthy non-democracies are looking to use events as billboards

If you have flicked to BT Sport at any point in the past fortnight, you may have witnessed hours of live coverage of a sporting event beamed in from the very fringes of Europe that appears to have been very professionally staged.

The branding, the sparkling venues, the breathless commentary, even the occasional famous face such as Britain’s Nicola Adams winning gold in the boxing. Inbetween the action, adverts have proclaimed: “From the ancient land of Azerbaijan rises the first European Games”.

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British man working on European Games killed in traffic accident in Baku

• Briton employed by company linked to European Games
• Three other workers injured and taken to hospital

A British citizen with links to the European Games has been killed in a traffic accident in Baku, according to his employer.

The man, who has not been officially named, worked for FiveCurrents, the production company for the 2015 opening and closing ceremonies.

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Azeri government behind foreign media ban, say European Games officials

• Organisers in Azerbaijan say government made decisions on entry
• Several media, including the Guardian, were barred from attending

A decision to ban some foreign media from attending the inaugural European Games in Azerbaijan this month rested with the government and was not taken by the event’s organisers, officials said on Saturday.

Journalists, including the Guardian’s chief sports correspondent Owen Gibson, have been refused entry visas but organisers of the event in Baku said it was the government who was clearing individuals to enter the country based on their own set of criteria.

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Baku 2015 organisers to investigate alcohol claims after athletes hit by bus

• ‘Nothing to suggest at this moment that alcohol played part in tragic incident’
• Reports in Azerbaijan allege alcohol may have been a factor in bus collision
• Organisers to ‘investigate immediately’ reports of staff drunkenness

European Games organisers say they will investigate allegations that staff have been drunk on duty following an incident in which a bus collided with three Austrian athletes.

One of the athletes, the 15-year-old swimmer Vanessa Sahinovic, sustained severe spinal injuries after being hit on Thursday by the bus, which veered on to the pavement in the athletes’ village.

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Learn from human rights fallout at European Games, Uefa and F1 told

Campaigners say plans for future motor racing and football tournaments need to be examined in light of controversies at inaugural European Games in BakuHuman rights campaigners have called on Uefa and Formula One to learn from the issues raised by the…

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Jailed journalist criticises Azerbaijan corruption as European Games begin

• Khadija Ismayilova says there is a ‘human rights crisis’ in country
• ‘Things have never been worse,’ she says in letter smuggled out of prison

A journalist jailed in Azerbaijan has criticised the country for corruption and human rights violations on the day the first European Games get underway in the capital, Baku.

Khadija Ismayilova was imprisoned last year after investigating corruption allegedly involving President Ilham Aliyev. Activists say the jailing was part of a wider crackdown on opposition in the leadup to the event, the continent’s version of the Olympics.

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Jailed journalist criticises Azerbaijan corruption as European Games begin

• Khadija Ismayilova says there is a ‘human rights crisis’ in country
• ‘Things have never been worse,’ she says in letter smuggled out of prison

A journalist jailed in Azerbaijan has criticised the country for corruption and human rights violations on the day the first European Games get underway in the capital, Baku.

Khadija Ismayilova was imprisoned last year after investigating corruption allegedly involving President Ilham Aliyev. Activists say the jailing was part of a wider crackdown on opposition in the leadup to the event, the continent’s version of the Olympics.

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Austrian swimmer injured by bus at European Games stable after operation

• Vanessa Sahinovic being kept in induced coma
• Athlete underwent lengthy operation in Vienna

One of three Austrian synchronised swimmers injured after being struck by a shuttle bus in the athletes’ village at the European Games in Baku on Thursday has been described as stable following a lengthy operation in Vienna overnight.

Vanessa Sahinovic, the most seriously injured of the athletes who was described by a team official as having suffered multiple broken bones, was flown back to the Austrian capital along with Luna Pajer, who suffered an elbow injury.

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European Games flame makes final journey before opening ceremony in Azerbaijan – video

Ahead of the opening ceremony in Azerbaijan on Friday, the flame for the inaugural European Games makes its final journey through the capital, Baku. The event will feature more than 6,000 athletes from 50 countries. Azerbaijan has come under fire in re…

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European Games: what you need to know about Baku 2015

As the inaugural event arrives, the big questions are answered about Europe’s answer to the Asian Games and Pan-American Games

The Games are the brainchild of Patrick Hickey, the Irish International Olympic Committee member who is also head of the European Olympic Committees. His research showed that European nations were suffering at the Olympics and believed a continental equivalent of the Asian Games and Pan-American Games would help, while also opening up new commercial and sporting opportunities.

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Baku European Games crackdown only casts light on human rights issues

Despite attempts to glorify the inaugural Games, denying visas to human rights groups and journalists in an attempt to stem negative coverage of president Ilham Aliyev’s Azerbaijan could inadvertently have the opposite effect

As the fireworks light the sky at Friday’s opening ceremony for the inaugural European Games in Baku the journalists, human rights lawyers and opposition politicians held in prison on the city’s outskirts might just be able to hear the cheers from the 68,000 people packing the sold-out stadium.

Related: Baku 2015’s gleaming stadiums a facade covering corrupt Azerbaijan regime | Idrak Abbasov

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Baku 2015’s gleaming stadiums a facade covering corrupt Azerbaijan regime | Idrak Abbasov

Azerbaijan’s government wants to boost its reputation with the European Games, but they must not be allowed to lend credibility to an administration which has no regard for free speech

This week, my country, Azerbaijan, plays host to the biggest international event it has staged to date: the European Games. More will follow. Azerbaijan is scheduled to host the European Grand Prix in 2016, and two matches in the 2020 European Football Championship.

These are the kind of big occasions any journalist would like to be part of. Unfortunately, I am unlikely to be able to cover any of these events. My own efforts to practise journalism in Azerbaijan have left me beaten, bruised, and eventually exiled.

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Baku 2015: Azerbaijan cracks down on free speech – video

The inaugural European Games are scheduled to kick off in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, on 12 June. Yet the image of its inception has been set against a backdrop of arrests and the detention of a number of journalists, bloggers and human rights act…

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Azerbaijan bans Guardian from reporting on Baku European Games

• Government denies Guardian journalist entry to country
• Other media outlets and human rights activists also banned
• ‘Repression making Games historic for wrong reasons’ – Human Rights Watch

The government of Azerbaijan has banned the Guardian, along with a number of media outlets and human rights activists, from entering the country to cover the inaugural European Games which begin on Friday.

The games will feature over 6,000 athletes from 50 countries, and the autocratic government of the President Ilham Aliyev has poured billions into the event, keen to put Azerbaijan on the map. The British Olympic Association has sent a team of 160 athletes to Baku, with the Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams the flagbearer at Friday’s opening ceremony.

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Netherlands pulls out of staging 2019 European Games

• Dutch move comes two days before inaugural event
• 2015 chief Simon Clegg claims games are ‘here to stay’

The future of the European Games has suffered a setback two days before the opening ceremony in Baku after the Netherlands pulled out of staging the 2019 tournament, just as the 2015 chief operating officer, Simon Clegg, said the event was “here to stay”.

The Dutch government said in a statement there was insufficient support for funding the event, calling the €57.5m (£42m) price tag too high for local, provincial and national authorities. The Dutch also questioned whether there would be enough top athletes at the games because sports including swimming and athletics already had European championships that year.

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Sport picture of the day: mountain biking in Baku

Before the 2015 European Games, some athletes check out the course during a training session at the Mountain Bike Velopark in Baku, Azerbaijan Continue reading…

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Amnesty International blocked from visiting Azerbaijan ahead of Baku 2015

• Human Rights organisation told to stay away by country’s government
• Move only adds to controversy surrounding inaugural European Games

Amnesty International has been blocked from entering Azerbaijan ahead of the inaugural European Games, amid a clampdown on free speech designed to quell critics.

The human rights organisation had been planning to launch a new report highlighting the crackdown on free speech, independent media and government critics ahead of the Baku 2015 European Games.

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Amnesty International blocked from visiting Azerbaijan ahead of Baku 2015

• Human Rights organisation told to stay away by country’s government
• Move only adds to controversy surrounding inaugural European Games

Amnesty International has been blocked from entering Azerbaijan ahead of the inaugural European Games, amid a clampdown on free speech designed to quell critics.

The human rights organisation had been planning to launch a new report highlighting the crackdown on free speech, independent media and government critics ahead of the Baku 2015 European Games.

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Azerbaijan holds activist who attacked European Games as ‘BP’s games’

Briton Emma Hughes says she was told she was on a ‘red list’ that barred her from entering country to monitor games

A British activist working for a leading human rights organisation that has been strongly critical of the relationship between oil and gas giant BP and the Azerbaijan regime has been barred from entering the country to monitor this week’s European Games, which start this Friday.

Emma Hughes, of London-based Platform, was detained at Baku airport on Tuesday afternoon after her plane landed from Rome. Her passport was taken from her and she was informed that she would be put on a plane back to Rome within 24 hours.

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