On August 22, the Baku Court of Appeal chaired by Judge Aflatun Gasimov held a preliminary hearing on the appeal of the convicted head of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center (EMDS) Anar Mammadli and two other activists, Bashir Suleymanli and Elnur Mammadov.
At the beginning of the session, the defense applied for permission for Mammadli and Mammadov to sit next to the lawyers. However, the judge rejected the request.
The defence lawyer Fariz Namazli filed petitions to replace the arrest of Mammadli and Suleymanli by house arrest, to conduct partial re-trial, in particular, to re-interrogate the 18 victims who in the trial court stated they do not consider themselves as such. The defense also requested the appeal court to send a request to the Constitutional Court to give the interpretation of Article 308.2 of the Criminal Code, which specifies one of the charges filed against defendants. The judge court rejected all of the petitions and scheduled a hearing for September 5.
The defense intends to file a cassation appeal against the preparatory hearing of the Appeal Court.
Background: Anar Mammadli was arrested on 16 December 2013. On 26 May 2014, Mammadli was sentenced to 5.5 years, EMDS executive director Bashir Suleymanli to 3.5 years in prison, while Elnur Mammadov was given a suspended sentence. The human rights defenders were convicted of tax evasion, misappropriation, and other offences.