Date set for journalist Tofig Yagublu verdict

March 11th, 2014

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On March 11, Shaki Court on Grave Crimes held a hearing in the case of Yeni Musavat newspaper columnist Tofig Yagublu and others accused in relation to Ismayilli incidents.
The defendants made their closing speech.
In his final speech, Tofig Yagublu remarked that there have been a lot of irregularities during the investigation. He once again reminded the court of the allegations made in the indictment that were not proved during the trial.
He also spoke about the authorities’ malice towards him and the political motives behind his arrest. He noted that the Prosecutor General’s Office were particularly prejudiced towards him after he investigated a mass killing committed in the Oil Academy building. At that time the Prosecutor’s Office stated that the mastermind of that manslaughter was Georgian citizen of Armenian origin, Mardun Gumashian. Acting on the information, Yagublu went to Georgia, and found out that Mardun was an ordinary person, who was not prosecuted by law-enforcement agencies, and that the government of Azerbaijan sent no request to Georgia regarding Gumashian.
“This will not be the end of the world. There will be a time when those who make unlawful decisions will get their punishment,” Yagublu said at the end.
After a deliberation, the court announced that the verdict will be passed on March 17, at 09.30am.
Background: Tofig Yagublu was arrested on 4 February 2013, for allegedly attempting to undermine stability in Ismayilli region by calling on the locals to resist the police and block the roads, during his visit to the region on January 24. He was eventually sentenced to two months of pretrial detention by Nasimi District Court on charges of “organizing public disorder” (Article 233 of the Criminal Code) and “resisting the representative of authorities or using violence against them” (Article 315 of the Criminal Code). Yagublu’s appeal against the decision was denied by the Baku Appeals Court on February 8. On April 27, one of the previous two charges filed against Yagublu, “organizing public disorder” (Article 233/Criminal Code), was replaced by that of “organizing or participating in mass disorders accompanied by violence, looting, arson, destruction of property, application of fire-arms or explosives, or armed resistance against representative of authority” (Article 220.1/Criminal Code) which carries a maximum of 12 years imprisonment.