HEARING ON YOUTH ACTIVIST’S APPEAL STARTS WITHOUT HIS PRESENCE

June 16th, 2011
Today, Sumgayit Appeals Court held a preliminary hearing on the appeal filed against 4 May 2011 decision of Sumgayit City Court which sentenced youth activist Jabbar Savalanli to 2.5 years in jail. Judge Latifa Huseynova presided over the hearing.

Jabbar Savalanli didn’t attend the hearin, but his attorneys Asabali Mustafayev, Anar Gasimov and public prosecutor Azar Osmanov were in attendance.
Gasimov stated in the hearing that the pre-trial detention for Jabbar Savalanli has expired. Therefore, deeming the continued arrest of Savalanli as illegal, the lawyer filed a motion demanding release for the activist.
Gasimov filed another motion requesting a court investigation alongside the hearing of the court of appelate instance. He grounded his motion with the fact that the witnesses have also been involved in other cases, and that the expert report was disputed.
The activist’s another lawyer Asabali Mustafayev noted that the testimonies of the investigator and the expert have not been covered in the verdict, these testimonies were not evalueated by the judge and therefore the motions should be granted.
Commenting in the motions, the public prosecutor Azar Osmanov stated that the motions were ungrounded, therefore requested the Judge to not grant the motions.
After deliberation, the Judge rejected the motions and scheduled the next hearing to 30 June.
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. Sumgayit City Court sentenced Jabbar Savalanli to 2.5 years in jail on May 4, 2011.