Today (August 22) Nizami District Court under presiding judge Imran Burjayev sentenced journalist Faramaz Novruzoglu (Allahverdiyev) to 4,5 years in jail under Article 220.2
(Appeals to mass disorders and violence against citizens) and 318.1 (Crossing protected frontiers of the Azerbaijan Republic without established documents or outside of check point of frontier).
It is alleged that in 2011 ahead of March 11 Great People’s Day (a Facebook event) Faramaz Novruzoglu, under the nickname of Elchin Ilgaroglu, called upon people to riot, promising to burn himself during the action. He allegedly crossed the Azerbaijani-Turkish border and lived there illegally from November 2010 until October 2011.
In addition Novruzoglu is required to pay 1350 AZN fine imposed on him by November 5, 2010 decision of the Narimanov District Court and 70 AZN in compensation for the expenses of forensic medical exam carried out during the last trial.
Novruzlu will serve his jail sentence in a “strict regime” prison.
Novruzoglu’s trial came two hours after the scheduled time and was held under strict control of court executives. Faramaz Novruzoglu was standing trial in a courtroom cage along with three guards. They only left Novruzoglu alone when he announced that he would make his final speech only if they leave.
In his final speech Novruzoglu claimed that his arrest is related to his articles “The whereabouts of Azerbaijani oil exported to Italia” and “Where do the candles imported from Russia go?”, as he seriously criticized the government in these articles. As for the charge under Article 220.2, Novruzoglu stated that he never used a nickname Elchin Ilgraoglu. Even scrutiny of his personal computer and 3 PCs taken from the internet café, which he usually visited did not find a proof of his using this nickname. Novruzoglu also rejected the charge under Article 318.1, saying that he was not in Turkey during the time specified by the court decision, but traveled to Nakhchivan for several times, going through Iran, referring to relevant stamps of border checkpoints in his passport, which he had presented to the court. Novruzoglu also stated that he had paid the fines and the receipts for these payments had also been given to the court. Novruzoglu alleged that his arrest is politically motivated and asked the judge to acquit him.
The judge announced the decision on Faramaz Novruzoglu after a 3 minutes’ deliberation.