Journalist Accused of Extortion Stands Trial in Baku

December 27th, 2016

Fikret Feremezoqlu

Summary: Hearing 4

  • • Editor in chief of jam.az news portal, Fikrat Faramazoglu was apprehended on 30 June 2016. He is charged under Article 182 (extortion) of the Criminal Code. On 2 July 2016, Narimanov district Court ordered his pre-trial detention.
    • Mehman Hasanov, who has filed the complaint which landed the journalist behind bars, testified.

On 27 December, Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Eldar Mikayilov held a hearing on the criminal case of jam.az editor, journalist Fikrat Faramazoglu.

Victim Mehman Hasanov, whose complaint has led to the journalist’s arrest, testified at the hearing. Hasanov said he had been running the family recreation centre located on the Zigh highway on the basis of a power of attorney. “Different websites were spreading disinformation that our restaurant was operating as a brothel. I contacted some of those websites, and they told me that they had published that article with reference to jam.az. One day, Fikrat Faramazoglu came to our restaurant and said many of those sites were under his control. He got one thousand manat to stop such articles, and demanded two thousand manat on a monthly basis. He set a deadline until June 20 [for me] to pay the money. Time was up, and as I refused to pay the money, articles began to appear again. Last time, we met in Narimanov metro station and he requested three thousand manat. And, I therefore appealed to the Main Organised Crime Department (MOCD). At MOCD, they gave me three thousand manat intended for operation. He was detained when I was giving the money to him,” Hasanov said.

Fikrat Faramazoglu’s barristerJavad Javadov asked whether there was a video footage confirming the journalist’s visit to the recreation centre. Hasanov said the recreation centre he was running was not equipped with a [security] camera.

Faramazoglu accused the victim of perjury. He denied getting any money and said his hands were cuffed when the three thousand manat was put into his pocket. “Even during the investigation, our motion to identify the fingerprints on the money was not granted,” the journalist said.

The judge said the victim’s cross-examination would continue at the next hearing.

The next court hearing was set for 13 January , 2 pm.