COURT PROCEEDINGS ON LAWSUIT AGAINST CUSTOMS COMITTEE UNDERWAY

May 18th, 2011
Today, the Baku Local Economic Court #2 held a preliminary hearing on the lawsuit filed by Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) Chairman Emin Huseynov against the State Customs Commitee, the Ministry of Justice and the Minsitry of Finance. The lawsuit requests the court to declare the activities of these three public institutions illegal, to rule for the prohibition of discrimination and to demand financial compensation for material and psychological damage.

Emin Huseynov, State Customs’ Committee representative Mushfig Sadigov, Etimad Habibov from the Justice Ministry and Samir Nasibov from the Finance Ministry were in attendance.
First of all, the Judge encouraged the parties to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement. Huseynov said that truce can only be reached when Customs’ Committee returns the property that it illegally seized; relevant measures are taken against the Comittee employees guilty of violating legal procedures; the Justice Ministry Examination Center admits that it valued and inventoried his property incorrectly; and he receives and apology.
Huseynov also objected to Etimad Habibov’s role as a representative of the Justice Ministry, on the ground of conflict of interest. The Judge asked whether the Justice Ministry’s Examination Center is recognized as defendant by all parties. The issue will remain open until next hearing.
The Judge then asked the Finance Ministry representative to declare their position regarding the lawsuit. The  representative said he would answer the question at the next hearing.
The State Customs Committee representative said that they do not approve the lawsuit.
The Judge ordered the Justice Ministry Examination Center to present a charter to the court to confirm that it is a legal entity, and then ruled to continue preliminary hearing on June 10.
On his way back from a business trip to Dubai in February, human rights defender Emin Huseynov was detained at the customs checkpoint at Baku International Airport. 2 mobile phones, 2 TV sets, and several car lights, as well as two old cameras, were confiscated.