Journalist Elchin Ismayilli Kept in Pre-Trial Custody

On 22 February, Baku Court of Appeal chaired by Judge Hasan Ahmadov considered the appeal filed against Nasimi District Court’s decision of 18 February 2017 ordering the pre-trial detention of journalist Elchin Ismayilli. According to lawyer Elchin Sadigov, the motion was not granted, and Nasimi District Court’s decision was upheld.

Sadigov quoted Elchin Ismayilli as saying that he was arrested for his critical articles about the head of Ismayilli region executive power.

Ismayilli-based freelance journalist Elchin Ismayilli was detained on 17 February. On 18 February, Nasimi District Court ordered him held for 24 days.

A criminal case has been initiated against the journalist under Articles 182 (extortion) and 308 (abuse of office) of the Criminal Code.

Background: According to the lawyer, Elchin Ismayilli is accused of extorting money from an employee of Ismayilli Region Culture and Tourism Department. The person in question appealed to the State Security Service, and the journalist was arrested when taking the money. “The journalist has said that his detention is staged and is related to his professional activity,” the lawyer said.

The lawyer further noted that Elchin Ismayilli had known that employee of the Culture and Tourism Department for 14 years. Some time ago, he asked him for a loan of AZN 1,000 as an old acquaintance. Elchin was arrested two days ago while receiving the money. The journalist is held in Baku Detention Centre #1.

Elchin Ismayilli has collaborated with different media outlets, including the Radio Liberty and the now-closed Azadliq newspaper. He has authored articles on negative developments in Ismayilli region and problems faced by the residents. He was one of the first persons to cover the protests held in Ismayilli on 23-24 January 2013. In the wake of those events, his brother was arrested as a protest participant.

Elchin Ismayilli himself has been detained by the police on various occasions and faced physical pressure. In all those cases, he associated it with his journalistic activities.

Elchin Ismayilli is a member of the Supreme Assembly of Azerbaijan Popular Front Party.

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