Journalist Khadija Ismayil Exempted from a Court Fine under Amnesty

June 21st, 2016

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A court fine imposed against Khadija Ismayil under Article 147.2 (libel) of the Criminal Code has fallen under amnesty, the journalist herself reported. “I have been amnestied today. The 2,500 AZN fine levied against me based on Elman Turkoglu’s complaint has fallen under amnesty. Today, they presented the amnesty decision to me at Binagadi Department for the Execution of Judgments, and closed the case,” Khadija Ismayil said.

Recall that Elman Turkoglu filed the criminal libel lawsuit against Khadija Ismayil when the journalist was not arrested yet. He claimed that a piece of information shared by Khadija Ismayil on her Facebook page constituted intrusion into his private life and was slanderous of him. Binagadi District Court sentenced the journalist to a 2,500 AZN fine on February 23, 2015. The appeal against the decision was rejected, and a cassational appeal was filed.

Background: Khadija Ismayil was arrested on 5 December 2014. She was initially charged under article 125 of the Criminal Code (inciting to suicide). Later, she faced new charges under articles 179 (misappropriation), 192.2 (illegal entrepreneurship), 213.2 (tax evasion) and 308.2 (abuse of authority). On September 1, the court acquitted Khadija Ismayil of the charge filed under Article 125 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic (inciting to suicide). However, the court found Khadija Ismayil guilty under Articles 179.3.2 (misappropriation and waste on a large scale), 192.2.2 (illegal entrepreneurship), 213.1 (tax evasion) and 308.2 (abuse of authority) and sentenced her to 7.5 years in jail and a 3-year ban from holding some public position or engaging in some public activities. The Court of Appeal upheld this verdict by its decision dated November 25, 2015. On May 25, 2016, the Supreme Court dropped the charges under Articles 179.3.2 (misappropriation of a large amount) and 308.2 (abuse of authority) of the Criminal Code against Khadija Ismayil, but sentenced her to a total of 3.5 years in jail and a 2-year ban from holding certain positions under Articles 192.2.2 (illegal entrepreneurship) and 213.1 (tax evasion) of the Criminal Code. In accordance with the court’s decision, Khadija Ismayil was conditionally released but will spend 5 years on probation.