Today, the 18th of October, the Court of Appeals considered the appeal of human rights defender Rasul Jafarov against the Penitentiary Service, who refused to comment. The hearing was presided over by Judge Etibar Nabiyev.
Jafarov, the winner of the 2010 International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) fellowship competition asked the Penitentiary Service for information as part of the fellowship. He requested general statistics about the number of prisoners released before the end of their prison sentence. However, the Penitentiary Service rejected the request, on the grounds that the statistics are official data that cannot be publicized. Jafarov, claiming that the rejection was unfounded, filed a lawsuit in the Yasamal District Court. The court denied the lawsuit and Jafarov appealed.
“Yasamal District Court illegally refused to accept the lawsuit. They said that they rejected the lawsuit because the xerox copy of a document I added to the lawsuit had not been notarized. In fact, the xerox document was the response letter of the Penitentiary Service. Furthermore, a notary office would not notarize this document, because it is an official document of a state agency, and therefore doesn’t need to be notarized. Nonetheless, I then added the original version of that letter to the lawsuit. Unfortunately, the Appeals Court upheld the decision,” Jafarov told IRFS