IRFS CHAIRMAN APPEALS TO COURT RIGHTS COUNCIL

November 27th, 2008
Today, 27 November, Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety Chairman Emin Huseynov appealed to Court Rights Council Fikrat Mammadov. 

The basis of this appeal is that recently IRFS employees have not been permitted to take photos and video record during court hearings and unfounded bans have been imposed by judges on monitoring the hearings by IRFS employees.

Yesterday IRFS employees Javid Gurbanov and Elnur Mammadov, who wanted to monitor a hearing (on the appeal of "Ideal" Newspaper founder Nazim Guliyev's defense lawyers to change pre-trial decision for Nazim Guliyev) conducted under the chairmanship of Judge Faig Gasimov in the Baku Appellate court, were physically pushed and dragged out of the court hall and then the court premises by a civilian-clothes law enforcement officer and police.

According to local legislation, anyone, including mass media or NGO representatives, can monitor open court hearings and no one needs get permission from the judge chairing the hearings to monitor open court hearings. These bans, imposed without showing any evidence, restrict the activity of IRFS defined in the law.

Below is the chronology of problems faced by IRFS employees in different court hearings in 2008 that have been included in the appeal addressed to the Court Rights Council.

13 March- Hearing held in the Baku Appellate Court, under the chairmanship of Judge Akif Isgandarov on the lawsuit filed against the decision issued about “Korrupsiya ve Jamiyyat” journal and journal’s editor-in-chief Mammad Ahmadoglu (prohibiting the presentation of materials about Great Britain citizen Adeola Agbabyaka and his lawyer Namig Alakbarov in “Korrupsiya ve Jamiyyat” journal);

30 March- Preliminary hearing held in the Baku Appellate Court, under the chairmanship of Judge Sahibkhan Mirzayev on the lawsuit filed against “Bizim Yol” newspaper correspondent Mushfig Huseynov’s arrest;

8 May – During a hearing held in Khatai District court, under the chairmanship of Judge Tofig Pashayev, on the lawsuit filed by the Justice Ministry against Election Monitoring Center to rescind its registration and cease its operations no permission was given to photograph or film;

05 June- During a preliminary hearing held in the Yasamal District Court, under the Chairmanship of Judge Elchin Gurbanov, on the lawsuit of “Azadlig Harakatchilari” Union against “Azadlig” newspaper, IRFS appealed to the court asking to get permission to photograph and film the hearing. The judge said he would answer the appeal after he learns the opinion of the sides. However, no permission was granted after the hearing started. On the other hand, “Lider” TV channel employees were allowed to video record with no problems.

02 September –During a hearing conducted in the Baku Appellate Court, under the chairmanship of Judge Gunduz Guliyev, on the lawsuit of IRFS Chairman Emin Huseynov against the decision of the Nasimi District Court issued on a lawsuit filed in connection with physical and moral pressure Emin Huseynov faced in the Nasimi District Police department Police Unit #22 no permission was given to take photos or film;

14 November – In the Nasimi District Court, under the chairmanship of Judge Elmar Karimov, during an open hearing conducted on the lawsuit of Sabira Mammadova against "Ideal" Newspaper Editor-in-Chief Ali Hasanov and the newspaper's founder Nazim Guliyev in the special form (i.e. could lead to the arrest of the defendants) the employees of the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety who were monitoring the hearing were thrown out of the court hall.  
   
 25 November – During a hearing held in the Baku Appellate Court, under the chairmanship of Judge Isa Ismayilov, on the lawsuit filed by the Election Monitoring Center against the decision of Khatai district court to rescind the organization’s registration and cease its operations IRFS employees were not permitted to photograph or film the proceedings;

In the appeal addressed to Court Rights Council it is requested that the council investigate the abovementioned facts and issue a decision assessing these incidents in light of Azerbaijan’s legislation.