May 3rd, 2011

Today, the Sumgayit City court held a hearing on the criminal case launched against APFP youth member Jabbar Savalanli under the drug possession charge.

First, pursuant to the defendant side’s motion filed in the last hearing, drug abuse expert Faig Isgandarov testified. The defendant lawyers stated that the expert’s report was disputed and they questioned him. In an answer to a question whether it is medically possible to determine that Savalanli has earlier used drugs or not, the expert said it is not possible.

Then investigator Ziyad Aliyev testified. Savalanli’s lawyers told the investigator that despite in his preliminary testimony, in which Savalanli said he was in specific places, there was no subsequent investigation.

The Lawyers said that they have enough evidence to prove that case witness not only testified during the arrest of Savalanli, but they also testified for others. Therefore, the lawyers required to investigation be considered invalid, and also requested the court to release the activist on bail, under the voluntary requirement of rights defenders Saida Gojamanli, Novella Jafaroglu, Saadat Bananyarli, as well as lawyers Intigam Aliyev and Annaga Hajibayli, and Musavat Party Head Isa Gambar. The motions were rejected.

Then Public Prosecutor Movlud Osmanov made a speech and requested the court to sentence Savalanli to 3 years in jail and to calculate the sentence term since the day of his arrest.
 The trial was rescheduled for 12 pm 4 May.
Azerbaijan Popular Front Party member Jabbar Savalanli was arrested on February 5, 2011. He is being charged with drug possession, but it is widely thought that his arrest was politically motivated, linked to criticism of the government he posted on social networking sites.