ALI HASANOV SAYS HE WAS WRONGFULLY IMPRISONED FOR FIVE MONTHS

April 15th, 2009
Former “Ideal” Newspaper Editor-in-chief Ali Hasanov was released on 10 April 2009 in accordance with an amnesty act adopted by Mili Mejlis.

Hasanov told the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety that he does not consider himself guilty of violating articles 147.2 (Libel by accusing in grave or especially grave crimes) and 148 (insult) of Azerbaijan's Criminal Code.
Noting that he was appointed to be editor-in-chief of the newspaper on October 21 2008, in accordance with an agreement between him and “Ideal” Newspaper’s founder Nazim Guliyev, A. Hasanov said that he was involved in the trials against the newspaper (Nazim Guliyev and Hasanov are the founders of the newspaper) even before he was the chief editor.
Hasanov had to participate in hearings as a defendant and as the editor-in-chief of the newspaper, given that N.Guliyev was involved in a court case on October 22, 23 and 24 and a search warrant was issued about him
“Since I took part in the hearings as the defendant, people thought I was defending the position of the newspaper even before I worked there and submitted special lawsuits against me,” said Hasanov. “In the Nasimi District Court, through a decision issued by Judge Elmar Karimov, I was sentenced to six months of imprisonment. Later, on the basis of a special lawsuit filed by Fakhraddin Gasimov, two months were added to my sentence and I was supposed to serve an eight month prison sentence.”
A. Hasanov believes that the decision adopted by the court against him was unfounded. He said that during the period from October 22 to November 15, while he was the editor-in-chief of the newspaper, exemplary information was published in the newspaper. Hasanov noted that the previous position of the newspaper, before he became editor-in-chief, did not conform to the norms of journalism.
Expressing his opinion about removing articles 147 and 148 from the Criminal Code, Hasanov stated that in Azerbaijan these articles are abused and used to file lawsuits against journalists to imprison them.
On the basis of a lawsuits filed by citizens Sabira Mammadova and Fakhradin Gasimov against him, A. Hasanov was convicted under articles 147.2 and 148 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic, and, at the decision of the Nasimi District Court, on 14 November 2008, imprisoned for six months and for two months respectively.