➢ The international travel ban imposed on the blogger five years ago is still in effect;
➢ The blogger’s lawyer is going to appeal to the European Court;
➢ During his courtroom speech, Huseynov related the travel ban to his blogging activities.
On 15 March, Baku Grave Crimes Court considered IRFS Chairman, blogger Mehman Huseynov’s appeal against the travel ban imposed on him prior to his arrest.
Following the hearing held behind closed doors, lawyer Elchin Sadigov told the journalists that Mehman Huseynov presence in the appeal hearing had been ensured. “The foreign travel restrictions were issued for Mehman Huseynov in 2012. After our request to the police office to lift that ban was turned down, we appealed to the court. The court of the first instance did not grant our request. Today, the appellate instance upheld that decision and ruled against our appeal. The court announced only the concluding part of the decision without providing any reasoning. The decision is absolutely unlawful and we will submit a complaint to the European Court in this connection,” Sadigov said.
According to the lawyer, Mehman Huseynov also made a speech in the court and defended the appeal. “Mehman Huseynov asserted that the foreign travel ban was related to his blogging and photo-reporter activities. He is in normal health and mood,” the lawyer added.
Background: Mehman Huseynov was detained in the evening hours on 9 January. He was released after being convicted and fined AZN 200 under Article 535.1 (disobedience to a lawful requirement of the police) of the Administrative Violations Code. Following the hearing, Huseynov told journalists that he was harassed for his professional activities and had been tortured by the police officers.
Following this interview, the Ministry of Internal Affairs filed a petition with the Prosecutor General’s Office, noting that Mehman Huseynov had made baseless allegations in his press statements such as his abduction by the police, illegal restriction of his freedom, and his subjection to torture including physical pain and mental suffering, in order to deceive the public and to undermine the reputation of the police.
“The Ministry of Internal Affairs has filed a petition with the Prosecutor General’s Office of the country to give a legal assessment of Mehman Huseynov’s act of slandering the police by accusing them of a serious crime. Additional information on the results of the investigation will be published,” the Ministry’s statement read.
Mehman Huseynov says he has undergone a medical examination in connection with his harassment and injuries sustained. “We filed a complaint with Baku City Prosecutor’s Office due to the tortures inflicted on me, but the prosecutor’s office declined to launch a criminal case in this connection,” Huseynov added.
Mehman Huseynov is the editor of the popular critical Facebook page Sancaq and the chairman of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety.
Mehman Huseynov, the founder and manager of the Facebook page Sancaq (https://www.facebook.com/Sancaq.biz/?fref=nf) having 323,000 followers, has recently been producing videos on senior officials’ and parliamentarians’ expensive properties. He has also been making videos on important socio-political processes taking place in the country. Huseynov’s latest video was a street poll on first lady Mehriban Aliyeva’s appointment as first vice president by President Ilham Aliyev. The question he asked the respondents was ‘would you give your wife a post if you were in charge’.
Mehman Huseynov himself, his defence counsel and international organisations have stated that his imprisonment is politically motivated and is linked to his blogging activities.