Court Rejects Blogger Mehman Huseynov’s Appeal Regarding His Subjection to Torture

On 27 April, Baku Court of Appeal chaired by Judge Gail Mammadov heard the appeal brought against Sabail District Court’s decision of 28 March 2017 in the caseconcerning prominent blogger and human rights activist Mehman Huseynov’s subjection to torture in police custody.

Mehman Huseynov did not attend court. He substantiated his absence by his sickness and by the a direct transfer from Prison #14, where he is held, to Baku Court of Appeal.

At the closed hearing, Mehman Huseynov’s lawyer Elchin Sadigov made a speech with regard to the appellate complaint and the motions put forward in the appeal. The motions related to questioning of additional witnesses and acquisition of camera footage proving infliction of torture on Mehman Huseynov in the police office. The lawyers requested that Sabail District Court’s decision be repealed and the appeal be granted.

After the hearing, Elchin Sadigov said they were going to apply to the European Court of Human Rights against the Appeal Court’s decision.

The lawyer further noted that he had applied for a meeting with Mehman Huseynov in prison #14 where he is held. Sadigov said he would provide detailed information about Huseynov’s detention conditions and health after the meeting.

Note that, the appeal had been filed against Sabail District Court’s decision of 28 March 2017 on the dismissal of the supervisory complaint against Baku City Prosecutor’s Office’s refusal to launch criminal proceedings into Mehman’s torture.

Background: Mehman Huseynov was detained by officers of Nasimi District Police Department in the evening hours on 9 January. He was released after being convicted under Article 535.1 (disobedience to lawful requirements of police) of the Administrative Offences Code and fined AZN 200 by Nasimi District Court. Speaking to journalists after leaving the court building, Huseynov said he was facing the pressure due to his professional activities and had been tortured by the police during his detention.

Huseynov appealed to the prosecutor’s office to investigate the fact of torture and to start criminal proceedings, but the prosecutor’s office refused to launch a criminal case.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) denied the blogger’s claims and called his allegations a libel. The Ministry’s statement also read that the MIA had submitted a petition to the Prosecutor General’s Office for a legal assessment of Mehman Huseynov’s libellous accusations against the police incriminating them of a serious crime.

After that, Nasimi District Police Department chief Musa Musayev filed a private prosecution with the court. The police chief asked the court to bring Mehman Huseynov to justice under Article 147.2 (libel, involving accusation of a serious or particularly serious crime) of the Criminal Code.

Based on this complaint, Surakhani District Court sentenced Mehman Huseynov to 2 years in jail on 3 March.

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