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The European Court of Human Rights has announced its decision on the application of the imprisoned Editor-in-Chief of the Tolishi Sado newspaper, Hilal Mammadov. The journalist was arrested in 2012, charged under articles 234.4.3 (illegal manufacture, production, acquisition and possession of drugs in large quantities), 274 (treason) and 283 (incitement of national, racial, social or religious hatred and hostility) of the Criminal Code. On September 27, 2013, Baku Grave Crimes Court sentenced Mammadov to 5 years in prison.
In his complaint to the European Court of Human Rights, the journalist requested recognition of the violation of his rights protected under articles 3 (prohibition of torture), 5 (right to liberty and security) and 34 (individual applications) of the European Convention, and demanded relief for the damage he has suffered.
According to the European Court’s judgment, Mammadov’s protection against inhuman or degrading treatment (article 3 of the European Convention) was violated during his arrest. The decision states that Hilal Mammadov was assaulted by non-uniformed police officers during his arrest in June 2012. They also insulted Mammadov’s ethnic origin.
While Hilal Mammadov was in detention, his lawyer Khalid Bagirov was disbarred, which deprived the journalist of his attorney, thus breaching his right to submit individual applications (article 34 of the Convention). According to the Court’s judgment, the government of Azerbaijan is to pay to the journalist EUR 13,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 2,500 for legal expenses.
The European Court refused to consider the allegation of the breach of the right to liberty (article 5 of the European Convention), on the grounds that the same complaint has been made to another international body. The complaint regarding the violation of Hilal Mammadov’s right to liberty following his arrest has been made to the UN.