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On 27 October, Shirvan Appeal Court chaired by Judge Alasgar Novruzov held a preliminary hearing on the appeal filed by jailed critical poet Tofig Hasanli. During the hearing, poet Tofig Hasanli called the charges brought against him trumped-up and stated that he had been tortured and intimidated when he was arrested.
Tofig Hasanli was arrested on 13 October 2015 and charged with drug-related offences under Article 234.4.3 of the Criminal Code. On 22 August 2016, Lankaran Grave Crimes Court sentenced him to six years in prison. The poet would sometimes read his critical poems on the Azerbaijani Hour TV programme.
“During the proceedings in Lankaran Grave Crimes Court, my petitions were not granted and my witnesses were not invited for testimony. Even when I was arrested, it could be seen that the drug charges were fabricated, because police officers were angered by my poems. I was openly told that I had to admit to the drug charges or I would pay a bigger price as they threatened to sexually assault me,” the poet noted.
Tofig Hasanli added that he had no other choice but to admit the charges in the face of the threats.
Shirvan Appeal Court decided that a partial court investigation would be conducted.
The hearing will continue on 17 November.