Court Does Not Allow Khadija Ismayil to Leave Country

June 28th, 2016

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Binagadi District Court of Baku, under chairmanship of Judge Rashad Aliyev, considered investigative journalist Khadija Ismayil’s request to let her travel abroad to attend an international event. Khadija Ismayil was arrested on 5 December 2014. She was initially charged under article 125 of the Criminal Code (inciting to suicide). Later, she faced new charges under articles 179 (misappropriation), 192.2 (illegal entrepreneurship), 213.2 (tax evasion) and 308.2 (abuse of authority). On September 1, the court acquitted Khadija Ismayil of the charge filed under Article 125 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic (inciting to suicide). However, the court found Khadija Ismayil guilty under Articles 179.3.2 (misappropriation and waste on a large scale), 192.2.2 (illegal entrepreneurship), 213.1 (tax evasion) and 308.2 (abuse of authority) and sentenced her to 7.5 years in jail and a 3-year ban from holding some public position or engaging in some public activities. The Court of Appeal upheld this verdict by its decision dated November 25, 2015. On May 25, 2016, the Supreme Court dropped the charges under Articles 179.3.2 (misappropriation of a large amount) and 308.2 (abuse of authority) of the Criminal Code against Khadija Ismayil, but sentenced her to a total of 3.5 years in jail and a 2-year ban from holding certain positions under Articles 192.2.2 (illegal entrepreneurship) and 213.1 (tax evasion) of the Criminal Code. In accordance with the court’s decision, Khadija Ismayil was conditionally released but will spend 5 years on probation.
According to Khadija Ismayil, she has received invitations from Isabel Santos, head of the legal affairs committee of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and Dunja Mijatovic, OSCE Special Representative on media issues, to an international event to be held in Tbilisi on July 1-7, and has applied to court to give her permission to participate.
The journalist also noted that she wanted to take her mother, who had undergone heart bypass surgery, to Ankara for medical examination.
Conditionally released from prison, Khadija Ismayil complies with the suspended sentence regime and checks in with judicial authorities in a timely manner.
At today’s hearing, Javid Mammadyarov, representative of the department for the execution of court judgments, said that the judgment rendered against Khadija Ismayil began to be enforced only recently and for this reason the request should be rejected.
Public prosecutor Svetlana Islamova also asked for the journalist’s request to be denied.
Binagadi District Court rejected the journalist’s request for permission to leave the country.
“Binagadi District Court believes that I should not be allowed to leave the country, because given that I do not have a husband, child or property, there is nothing that binds me to the country and I cannot return,” Khadija Ismayil said while commenting on the court’s decision.
Khadija Ismayil said she would appeal to higher courts against the decision.