Journalist Fikrat Faramazoglu’s Signatures Sent for Examination

Summary: 10th hearing

> Lawyer Elchin Sadigov lodged motions to examine additional witnesses, to send a request to the cellular operator to extract the list of incoming and outgoing calls from the journalist’s mobile phone number and to submit the journalist’s signatures for examination. The court only satisfied the motion concerning the examination of signatures.

On 28-29 March, Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Eldar Mikayilov held hearings on the criminal case of website editor, journalist Fikrat Faramazoglu.

Fikrat Faramazoglu’s lawyer Elchin Sadigov filed several motions in court. One of the motions related to examination of additional witnesses.

The lawyer quoted the indictment bill as stating that the publication of the articles on several internet portals about the victims and their commercial facilities had been arranged by journalist Fikrat Faramazoglu. The lawyer denied the allegation that those articles had been arranged by his client and noted that those articles had been copied by employees of internet portals and uploaded on the websites. To prove his claim, the lawyer asked the court to summon portal editor-in-chief Elmidar Aliyev, portal director Khanlar Khoja, portal editor-in-chief Nuraddin Khoja and portal director Vasif Turan for witness testimony.

Elchin Sadigov requested that portal director Azer Talibov, who was by Fikrat Faramazoglu’s side at the time of his detention and saw in what circumstances and way he was detained, and portal founder Mirkanan Seyidov, whose testimony would rebut the allegations that the journalist had gone to pick up the bribe together with him, testify as a witness. The court denied the motion.

Lawyer Elchin Sadigov’s second motion sought submission of a request to the cellular operator to extract the list of incoming and outgoing calls from the journalist’s mobile phone number for the period between 1 January 2016 and 1 June 2016. “The indictment bill reads that allegedly on those dates my client Fikrat Faramazoglu got in touch with the victims by phone, met with them and demanded a bribe in return for not publishing the articles. However, Faramazoglu himself denied contacting the victims by phone or meeting with them. This will be clarified if an inquiry is sent,” the lawyer said. However, the court denied this motion, too.

The lawyer’s last motion related to conducting forensic handwriting analysis. The lawyer stated that the signatures on the Protocol on Implementation of Operational Measure and Taking of Material Evidence and on the journalist’s statement to the investigating agency did not belong to him, which the journalist himself had repeated over and over. The lawyer requested a forensic handwriting analysis to determine whether or not the signatures belonged to the journalist. The judge granted this motion at the hearing held on 29 March and ordered a forensic handwriting analysis on the case.

The court proceedings were postponed indefinitely.

Background: Fikrat Faramazoglu was arrested 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.

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