Authorities Punish Critical Journalist’s Brother Because of Him

April 22nd, 2016

Summary: Hearing 2 (April 22)

  • The accused person Murad Adilov is the brother of Natig Adilov, an employee of the pro-opposition newspaper Azadliq and a correspondent of the Azerbaijani Hour TV program which is openly critical of the government policies. Natig Adilov is also the head of the press service of the opposition Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP). Murad Adilov himself is a member of APFP. After his persecution and his brother’s arrest, Natig Adilov moved to France, where he currently lives;  

  • At today’s hearing, Murad Adilov’s lawyer Yalchin Imanov made a speech and requested annulment of Shirvan Appeal Court’s decision of October 27, 2015, and discontinuance of the criminal case against Murad Adilov on exculpatory grounds;

  • Murad Adilov’s other lawyer Fakhraddin Mehdiyev also made a speech asserting his client’s innocence and asking for his acquittal;

  • Judicial Chamber did not grant the cassational complaint and upheld Shirvan Appeal Court’s decision of October 27, 2015.

Supreme Court chaired by Judge Ilham Jafarov (other judges were Hafiz Nasibov and Ali Seyfaliyev) held a hearing on Murad Adilov’s cassational complaint against Shirvan Appeal Court’s decision of October 27, 2015. Murad Adilov was arrested by the Main Drug Enforcement Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in his home village Khalfali of Sabirabad region on August 11, 2014. He is charged under Article 234.4.3 (drug trafficking in a large quantity) of the Criminal Code. Murad Adilov has pleaded not guilty to the charges and stated that he was arrested on false charges because of his APFP membership and his brother’s critical journalistic activities. Murad Adilov was sentenced to 6 years in jail by Lankaran Serious Crimes Court on May 14, 2015.

Lawyers’ speeches:

Lawyer Yalchin Imanov spoke first at today’s hearing:

“Both the preliminary and judicial investigations of the criminal case against Murad Adilov have been accompanied by gross violations, which translated into the arguments of the appellate complaint. However, Shirvan Appeal Court did not approach these arguments objectively and even failed to address many arguments altogether. For example, Murad Adilov was searched upon his detention on August 11, 2014, although the decision to implement search operations dated August 11 2014 did not provide for this, i.e. he was subjected to body search in the absence of a protocol on arresting as suspect. Whereas, according to Clause 28 of the decision #2 dated March 04 2011 of the Plenum of Supreme Court “On the judicial practice relating to the cases concerning illegal trafficking of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors,” The courts shall be advised that under Article 246.2.1 of the Criminal Procedure Code, in the absence of a court decision, a body search may be conducted if a suspect has been detained and he is in the custody of the police or another law enforcement agency. Within the meaning of Article 153 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the detainee must be taken without delay to the police or other preliminary investigating authority’s temporary detention facility and his detention must be documented with a relevant protocol. Shirvan Appeal Court’s stance on this argument of the appeal was as follows: Although Adilov Murad Gulahmad oglu’s body search was conducted before the protocol on arresting as suspect was drawn up, this search was not against his will, and he himself presented the items that he had in his pockets, including a match box to the operatives,” the lawyer said. 

Yalchin Imanov further noted that in response to the argument that the search and seizure at Murad Adilov’s apartment in Khalfali village of Sabirabad region were performed without a court warrant and that the presence of Murad Adilov, who at the time was a suspect, and his defense counsel during the search and seizure was not ensured, Shirvan Appeal Court stated that “Adilov Murad Gulahmad oglu’s house was searched in the presence of his family members and the marijuana, which was under the mattress of his bed, was found and seized in his family members’ presence.”  

“As to the arguments that the attesting witnesses – Elchin Atakishiyev and Valhad Agayev – were dependent on the police officers, that their statements were word-for-word repetition of the police officers’ statements, and that Elchin Atakishiyev had a prior conviction under Article 234.2 (illegal purchase or storage, manufacturing, processing, transportation or transfer of narcotics or psychotropic substances with a view to sell or illegal selling of narcotics or psychotropic substances) of the Criminal Code and was registered at Republic Narcological Center with the diagnosis of “drug addiction resulting in abuse of substances containing opium alkaloids,” Shirvan Appeal Court noted that these factors do not preclude his involvement in the case as an attesting witness. Whereas, the fact that the attesting witness was a registered drug addict and, on top of that, had a past conviction for illegal drug trafficking could be considered as a proof of his informal cooperation with the police and his dependence on them,” the lawyer said. 

At the end of his speech, Yalchin Imanov requested annulment of Shirvan Appeal Court’s decision of October 27, 2015, and discontinuance of the criminal case against Murad Adilov on exculpatory grounds.

After that, lawyer Fakhraddin Mehdiyev made a very brief speech asserting Murad Adilov’s innocence and called his client a “hostage of lawlessness.” “This criminal case is a product of police provocation. I ask you to discontinue the criminal case against Murad Adilov on exculpatory grounds. Such a decision would earn respect for the judicial system,” the lawyer said.

Court’s verdict:  

Judicial Chamber did not grant the cassational complaint and upheld Shirvan Appeal Court’s decision of October 27, 2015.