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A video compilation has been created by Eltac Turan Türk featuring politicians, public figures, youth activists and ordinary citizens protesting against Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) Chairman, satiric Facebook page Sancaq’s manager, journalist and video blogger Mehman Huseynov’s arrest. The video contains fragments from videos shot and disseminated by Mehman Huseynov and speeches by National Strategic Thought Centre Chairman Isa Gambar, Musavat Party Chairman Arif Hajili, D-18 Movement leader Ruslan Izzatli, REAL Movement Executive Secretary Natig Jafarli, media expert Alasgar Mammadli and others assessing the youth activist’s illegal arrest as an attack on freedom of expression in Azerbaijan and calling for his immediate release. » » » »

Movsum Samadov, the chairman of Azerbaijan Islamic Party, has once again been put into solitary confinement in Prison #12 where he is serving his jail sentence, Samadov’s lawyer Yalchin Imanov reported on 22 March.

According to the lawyer, the theologian’s latest 5-day solitary confinement penalty expired on 6 March. After that, he was given another 3-day penalty. Samadov’s relatives wanted to meet with him in Prison #12 on the occasion of Nowruz holiday but were told that Samadov had been transferred to a solitary cell and the term of punishment was said to be two months. » » » »

REAL Movement Chairman Ilgar Mammadov has developed serious health issues. He suffers from acute back and muscle aches. According to Mammadov, it even hurts when he walks or speaks. Publicising this information, REAL Executive Secretary Natig Jafarli said he had a phone conversation with Ilgar Mammadov during which the REAL Chairman made serious health-related complaints.

“Ilgar Mammadov requested an urgent check-up by foreign physicians, and we brought Ilgar’s condition and his request for physicians to the attention of the Red Cross and other relevant organisations,” Natig Jafarli said. » » » »

On 17 March, Zeynalabdin Bagirzade, an activist of Azerbaijan Popular Front Party’s (APFP) Babak district branch, was freed from jail. According to Zeynal’s brother and APFP’s Nakhchivan branch chairman Yashar Bagirsoy, Kangarli District Court granted Zeynal early release in view of his serious health condition.

Background: APFP activist Zeynalabdin Bagirzade was convicted under Article 315-2 (use of violence against a civil servant) of the Criminal Code, and was sentenced to 8 years in jail under Babak District Court’s judgment of 2 February 2016. The Supreme Court of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (AR) upheld the lower court’s judgment. » » » »

Summary: 31st hearing

> Bayram Valiyev’s lawyer filed a motion to replace his client’s pre-trial detention with house arrest;
> Defendant Vidadi Zeynalov’s lawyer Baylar Mamishov lodged a motion to lift the arrest imposed upon the properties reportedly belonging to Vidadi Zeynalov;
> Defendants Namazali Mammadov’s and Anar Mustafayev’s lawyers requested a repeat forensic examination on the case;
> The jury replied that the motion to lift arrest from Zeynalov’s properties would be addressed at the time of issuance of the verdict. The motions concerning forensic examination were left unexamined. The motion seeking replacement of Valiyev’s pre-trial detention with house arrest was not granted;
> Bayram Valiyev’s lawyer raised an objection to the jury composition over the dismissal of his motion which meant the proceedings would continue with his client’s participation despite his health condition. The jury deemed the objection groundless and left it unexamined.

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The Anti-Corruption General Directorate under the Prosecutor General has launched a criminal case against Anaxeber.az over the alleged dissemination of commercial secret about Baku International Sea Trade Port.

Editor-in-chief of the website, Azer Talibov, stated that Baku International Sea Trade Port is a state agency and the disseminated information is a corruption fact, not a commercial secret. » » » »

On 16 March, Nasimi District Court chaired by Judge Babak Hasanov ordered the pre-trial detention of Muslim Union Movement’s (MUM) Board member Elkhan Sayadulla oglu Isgandarov for a period of 3 months 11 days, lawyer Fariz Namazli has said.

According to the lawyer, Elkhan Isgandarov was arrested during a raid to his house by officers of Sabunchu Police Department at night of 14 to 15 March. » » » »

On 16 March, President Ilham Aliyev signed a pardon decree. Under the decree, 412 individuals serving prison sentences have been exempted from the remainder of their sentences. Among them are four people included in human rights organisations’ list of political prisoners, namely exiled editor-in-chief of Azadliq newspaper Ganimat Zahid’s relatives Rufat and Rovshan Zahidov, NIDA Civic Movement member, admin of Stop Sycophants Facebook page Abdul Abilov, and Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) activist Elvin Abdullayev. » » » »

On 16 March, Supreme Court chaired by Judge Ahmad Nurmammadov considered investigative journalist Khadija Ismayil’s appeal seeking to reverse the travel ban imposed on her.

Khadija Ismayil made a speech at the hearing and asked for the appeal to be granted. “The Supreme Court decision dated 25 May 2016 converted my sentence into a conditional one and ordered me not to change my place of residence without warning. However, a bailiff of Binagadi District Department for Execution of Judgments has acted in excess of his powers and imposed a ban on my travelling out of the country by applying to the State Border Service. Supreme Court could have done this itself if this was deemed necessary. But the decision does not provide for this. Hence, the bailiff has acted arbitrarily,” Khadija Ismayil said. » » » »

On 16 March, Shirvan Court of Appeal heard and dismissed an appeal filed by Masalli-based theologian Sardar Hajihasanli (Babayev) against Masalli Regional Court’s decision ordering his pre-trial detention, lawyer Javad Javadov has said.According to the lawyer, police outposts had been put up along the roads leading to Shirvan Appeal Court prior to the hearing. The lawyer was even denied access to the court building. “Only after my request to the court, they took me to the court premises in a separate car,” the lawyer noted. » » » »