August 22nd, 2011
The Sharur District prosecutor’s office has completed its investigation into the criminal case against Hakimeldostu Mehdiyev, who is being charged with stealing electricity. Mehdiyev is a regional correspondent for the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS).

On Monday, the indictment was submitted to the court. “Prosecutor Kamil Shukurov asked me to put forward 1050AZN to stop the criminal case. I refused because I am innocent of these charges,” Mehdiyev told Objectiev TV. A copy of the indictment has not been given to either him or his lawyer Asabali Mustafayev, who arrived from Baku.

“All of the witness testimonies are written in exactly the same way, like a template. Moreover, the witnesses are the local leaders – the head of a municipality, a representative of the executive power, the head of the electricity grid’s sales department, the deputy executive of the area, and even the local mullah,” said Mehdiyev.
On July 15th, the local authorities cut off the electricity supply to Mehdiyev’s house in the Jalilkend village of the Sharur district, alleging that he was using the supply illegally. However, Mehdiyev has all of his utility bills to prove that he has paid for any electricity he used. His family spent over 3 weeks without electricity.

”Now we’ve been given power, but the voltage is very low and it is not even enough to turn the pump in the well”.

The pressures on Mehdiyev started in early July after he accompanied German columnist Michael Ludwig from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on his trip to Nakhchivan despite attempts by the local authorities to prevent the visit.