IRFS STATEMENT: VERDICT AGAINST MAHAL ISMAYILOGLU POLITICALLY MOTIVATED

July 1st, 2009
The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety condemns the verdict issued today (1 July) to sentence "Yeni Musavat" Newspaper columnist and former Editor-in-Chief of “Khalg” Newspaper Mahal Ismayiloglu to conditional imprisonment for two years.

In the Absheron District Police Department investigative center, a criminal case was instituted against M. Ismayiloglu on the basis of a lawsuit filed against him by his neighbor Vahid Imanov’s servant. In the lawsuit, the servant alleged that Ismayiloglu beat her. The case was sent to the Absheron District Court to be considered.
Contradictory statements given by the plaintiff and plaintiff’s witnesses showed that the case against Ismayiloglu is spurious and he was slandered due to his articles about the government.
M. Ismayiloglu suffers from heart disease and needs heart surgery abroad. However, this decision prohibits the journalist from leaving the country, seriously jeopardizing his physical welfare. Such a cruel verdict is evidence of the ill-will the government harbors towards M. Ismayiloglu and shows that his punishment is politically motivated.

IRFS calls on Azerbaijani government to annul the politically motivated court decision against Mahal Ismayiloglu.
IRFS notes that  Azerbaijan’s wrongfully imprisoned journalists – “Gundalik Azerbaijan” and “Realniy Azerbaijan” Newspapers’ Editor-in-chief Eynulla Fatullayev, “Bizim Yol” newspaper correspondent Mushfig Huseynov and “Azadlig” Newspaper Editor-in-chief Ganimat Zahid still remain in prison on spurious charges and IRFS calls for the immediate release of all Azerbaijan’s wrongfully imprisoned journalists.