February 29th, 2012
Today, the Baku Appeals Court denied an appeal filed by youth activist and a prisoner of conscience, Bakhtiyar Hajiyev. Hajiyev was appealing against the Garadagh District Court’s decision not to replace his remaining sentence with a lighter punishment.

Judge Vagif Mursagulov presided over the hearing.

Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, his lawyer Habib Valiyev, public prosecutor Jeyhun Budagov, a representative of prison #14 Khazar Fattahov, as well as representatives of foreign embassies and international organizations attended the hearing.
Bakhtiyar Hajiyev filed petitions requesting the court to remove him from behind bars and allow him to sit near his lawyer, allow fillming in the courtchouse, and broadcast the proceeding over social networking sites. None of the motions were granted.
Prison representative Khazar Fattayev, was unable to answer Hajiyev’s request for an explanation of the prison’s objection to his release, only saying “I do not know.” Hajiyev used this answer to state the prison’s statement that in support of the original sentence is ungrounded, and asked the court to annul the decision of the Garadagh District Court.
Public Prosecutor Jeyhun Budagov asked the court not to grant the appeal and uphold the decision of the Garadagh District Court.
After deliberation, the Judge decided not to grant the appeal.
A criminal case was launched against Bakhtiyar Hajiyev at the end of January, and on May 18th, 2011, Nizami Regional Court, in Ganja City, sentenced Hajiyev to 2 years in jail for evading military service. The Ganja Appeals Court and the Supreme Court have each upheld this decision.  
Human rights organizations believe that the youth activist, a former 2010 parliamentary candidate, was arrested for his involvement in organizing the March 11th Great People’s Day protest.