Baku Court of Appeal, chaired by Judge Aflatun Gasimov, held a hearing on the protest appeal filed by public prosecutor Asadulla Ramazanov against Nizami District Court’s verdict of June 1, 2016 on sentencing journalist and NGO activist Elchin Hasanov to one year of corrective labor under Article 221.1 of the Criminal Code. Elchin Hasanov’s lawyer has also appealed the judgment.
Elchin Hasanov was originally charged under Article 221-3 (hooliganism committed by using cold steel) of the Criminal Code. By its judgment of June 1, 2016, Nizami District Court reclassified the charge against Elchin Hasanov from Article 221.3 to Article 221.1 (hooliganism) of the Criminal Code and sentenced him to one year of corrective labor, under which 20 percent of his monthly salary will be deducted.
Today’s hearing was attended by journalist Elchin Hasanov, his lawyer Fariz Namazli and public prosecutor Rizvan Shammadov.
At the hearing, public prosecutor Rizvan Shammadov made a speech in support of the protest appeal, claiming that Nizami District Court failed to comply with the requirements of the Criminal Procedure Code or to give proper legal assessment of the evidence when passing the judgment.
“When reclassifying the accused person’s offence, the court referred to the victim’s testimony in court during the trial, ignoring the fact that the victim was questioned in court long after the incident occurred, thus failing to give proper legal assessment of the evidence. For that reason, I request that Baku city Nizami District Court’s judgment of June 01, 2016 on convicting Elchin Hasanov under Article 221.1 (hooliganism) of the Criminal Code be revised, and Elchin Hasanov be convicted under Article 221.3 (hooliganism committed by using cold steel) of the Criminal Code and be awarded a severe punishment stipulated by that Article,” the public prosecutor said.
Elchin Hasanov’s lawyer Fariz Namazli in turn noted that the victim in the case, i.e. Jafar Jafarov had not specified, whether during the preliminary investigation or during his testimony in court, what object the accused Elchin Hasanov had in his hand at the time of the incident.
“One of the classificatory criteria of Article 221.3 of the Criminal Code is the commission of the offence by using a weapon or objects used as a weapon. Neither the victim’s testimony, nor the expert opinion included in the case file specifies what object Elchin Hasanov used as a weapon. Acts of hooliganism classified under Article 221.3 of the Criminal Code are those committed by using a firearm or cold steel. According to the decision dated May 20, 2011 of the Constitutional Court of Azerbaijan Republic on interpretation of Article 221.3 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic, any objects, including household items (ax, pitchfork, kitchen knife, etc.), as well as brick, stone, iron, stick, in short, all the things, the application of which poses a threat to life or health, are referred to as objects used as a weapon. As it can be seen, a person can be charged under Article 221.3 of the Criminal Code only when it is specified what object he has used as a weapon. In consideration of the above and in accordance with the requirements of the Criminal Procedure Code of Azerbaijan Republic, I ask you to reverse Baku city Nizami District Court’s verdict of February 01, 2016 on case #1(007)-189/2016 and to terminate the proceedings against Elchin Hasanov on exculpatory grounds,” Fariz Namazli said.
The presiding judge set the next hearing for July 25, 15.00.