On June 19, Sumgait Appeal Court, chaired by Judge Mubariz Zeynalov, started hearing on the appeal of Elsevar Mursalli, a Facebook activist sentenced to five years in jail on charges of drug trafficking. According to Samir Asadli, deputy chairman of the Civil Solidarity Party, who had observed the hearing, Mursalli stated that he was innocent and that there were political motives behind his incrimination
Mursalli was an active supporter of opposition candidate Jamil Hasanli in October 9, 2013 presidential election. The youth was detained on October 3 in the city of Khachmaz, taken to the police office and forced to sign a protocol that he had found the heroin ‘seized’ from him at the station. He was promised that he would be freed after that. However, Mursalli was taken to the General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime of the Interior Ministry.
The parents and neighbors of Mursalli told the court that during three days before detention he was harvesting fruits together with them, and could not have been at the bus station and found drugs as alleged.
Court hearing will continue on June 24.
Lawyer Khalid Bagirov said that the defense insists on acquittal of Mursalli due to his innocence.
Note that on April 3, Baku Serious Crimes Court sentenced Mursalli to five years’ imprisonment on charges of illegal possession, storage, manufacturing or sale of drugs. After his arrest Mursalli joined the NIDA Movement.
The use of drug charges against online activists has recently become very common. Bloggers Rashad Ramazanov, Abdul Abilov and Omar Mammadov are all accused on drug-related charges.