Elsevar Mursalli Imprisoned on Defamation Charges

November 2nd, 2016

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On 2 November, Sumgait Court of Appeal chaired by Judge Huseyn Nabiyev held a hearing on the appeal filed by singer Matanat Asadova against New Azerbaijan Party member and a former political prisoner Elsevar Mursalli. The Court of Appeal overturned the previous judgment in this case and sentenced Elsevar Mursalli to three months in prison.

On 30 June 2015, a scandalous argument occurred between writer Aziz Musaoglu and singer Matanat Asadova on the Gunaydin (Good Morning) TV show broadcasted on Space TV. During the show, the two guests exchanged insults. After that, Elsevar Mursalli made critical remarks about Matanat Asadova on a social networking website. His comments were covered by several websites. In July 2015, Matanat Asadova brought a private criminal prosecution against Elsevar Mursalli..

In 2016, Khachmaz Regional Courtgave Mursalli a six-month suspended sentence .

Matanat Asadova appealed the decision of Khachmaz Regional Court, asking the Court of Appeal to convict Mursalli under Article 148 of the Criminal Code for insulting her on an internet forum.  The judge ruled in favor of the singer sentencing Elsevar Mursalli to three-month months in prison.

Matanat Asadova had also previously sued scholar Aziz Musaoglu for insulting her on a television show but she later withdrew her lawsuit.

Background: Elsevar Mursalli, then a member of NIDA civic movement, was sentenced to two years in prison on drug possession charges in early 2013. He was released in 2014 after writing an application for pardon to the president expressing his remorse. After his release, Mursalli joined the ruling New Azerbaijan Party.