Court of Appeal Keeps Azadliq Newspaper Employee in Pre-Trial Custody

On 16 February, Baku Court of Appeal heard an appeal filed against Nasimi District Court’s decision refusing to release APFP Chairman Ali Karimli’s assistant, Azadliq newspaper’s distribution director Faig Amirli to house arrest.

Faig Amirli attended the hearing, which was held behind closed doors, in person.

Amirli’s lawyer Agil Layijov gave information about the trial after it ended. He said that despite them putting forward enough arguments to support their request for the house arrest, the court did not grant the appeal.

Layijov further quoted Amirli as telling the court that he had absolutely nothing to do with the charges filed against him. The lawyer opined that even the judges examining the case themselves knew it very well, but their personal beliefs and the decision that they rendered on the case differed from each other. Layijov believes that the court’s refusal to grant the appeal seeking the replacement of Amirli’s pre-trial detention with house arrest was unfounded. “We hoped, relying on the president’s recent decree against harsh punishment, that Faig Amirli could be released to his house because of his illness, but it did not happen,” the lawyer said, calling the court’s arguments in support of the dismissal of the appeal as a typical approach.

The lawyer added that he would once again file a motion for the substitution of Amirli’s pre-trial arrest with house arrest next week. “We will appeal to the court every week as long as Faig Amirli is not released from detention,” he noted.

The lawyer also spoke about Faig Amirli’s health. He pointed out that Amirli suffered from a stomach disease and his illness continuously deteriorated due to the lack of any initiatives towards his treatment. This was the reason why Nasimi District Court was requested to release him to house arrest. However, the court denied this motion on 8 February 2017.

Background: Faig Amirli was arrested on 20 August 2016. He is charged under Articles 168.1 (violating citizens’ rights under the pretext of performing religious rites) and 283-2 (instigation of ethnic, racial and religious hostility) of the Criminal Code. The indictment bill refers to him as an imam of the Hizmet movement linked to Fetullah Gulen, a US-based Muslim cleric who is accused of masterminding the failed coup attempt in Turkey on 15 July 2016.

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