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Corruption, Repression, And Poverty In Azerbaijan: RFE's Stories Of The Year (Part 1 of 3)

Azerbaijan -- RFE Photojournalist Abbas Atilay took this picture of a boy whose family lives in an abandoned Baku factory.

Of the thousands of stories produced this year by RFE journalists, 15 have been singled out by RFE's top editors as the "Best of the Best." The three awards earned by Radio Azadliq, RFE's Azerbaijani Service, were the most by any news service. Part 1 of 3:

Best Breaking News Coverage Video

This video of a peaceful religious protest turning violent in Baku, Azerbaijan provides a rare, real-time look inside a police crackdown. Such clashes are growing more common as the Azeri government tries to impose stricter controls on Islamic life.

Police Clash With Shi'ite Procession In Baku
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The clip, captured by Radio Azadliq's Javanshir Agamaliyev and Ulker Guliyeva, was voted the best breaking news video by RFE's top news editors.

Best Photojournalism

Also in Baku, Radio Azadliq photojournalist Abbas Atilay was recognized for his images of Azeri refugees living in an abandoned factory. These impoverished families are not taking refuge for a night or two. Many have been there for 20 years.

Best Investigative Report

A third story from the Azeri Service was honored as RFE's best investigative report of the year. Radio Azadliq's Ulviyye Asadzade and Khadija Ismailova looked at the Aliyev family's growing business empire. They carefully tracked a money trail that led from a murky local conglomerate directly to President Aliyev's daughter.

There were a dozen other winners from the rest of RFE's broadcast area. Stay tuned for Part 2.

--Ari Goldberg