Journalist Pleads Not Guilty at His Trial


Summary: Hearing 3

  • • The public prosecutor announced the indictment bill;
    • Fikrat Faramazoglu testified and pleaded not guilty.

On December 15, Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Eldar Mikayilov held a hearing on the criminal case of website editor, journalist Fikrat Faramazoglu.

Public prosecutor Erkin Gafarov read out the indictment bill, according to which, Fikrat Faramazoglu is charged with extorting money from small business owners Mehman Hasanov, Shirin Abdullayev and Bakhshali Gahramanov by threatening to disseminate humiliating information about them.

Next, defendant Fikrat Faramazoglu testified and pleaded not guilty.

“I do not consider myself guilty at all. The indictment is an outright lie. I saw two of the three persons, who are recognised as a victim, after my detention at the Main Organised Crime Department (MOCD). Among those three people, only Mehman Hasanov phoned me 3 days before my arrest and asked for a meeting. He said he had a complaint. Then we met and he asked me to remove an article published on our website. I said I would do that and that is all. I did not meet with him afterwards. On the 30th of the month, he called me four times, but I did not pick up. The allegation that I was detained when he was giving me marked banknotes amounting to 3,000 manat is a lie,” Faramazoglu said.

“I was detained and handcuffed by several men when leaving a café and walking towards my car. They put a package of money into my pocket in the car. I was illegally held at the MOCD for 34 days. I was subjected to severe torture. The signature on the minutes of the taking of evidence is not mine. They have signed instead of me. At MOCD, they took me out of the cell and beat me up every day. Smacks, punches and kicks were a norm. They did not let me take a shower for 12 days. At last, my cellmate shouted that he was dying of odour. They finally let me take a shower after 12 days, and that was because the International Red Cross Committee was going to come,” the journalist noted.

“I lost one of my teeth while there. I could not walk to the WC because of leg pain. They had warned me that if I complained to the Red Cross, they would do to me the double of what they were already doing. Psychological pressure was most horrible. When leading me along the corridor, one of their men was saying ‘Is this the journalist whose wife has been arrested?’ They were talking about how my family would be deported. The true reason behind my arrest is my series of articles about the casinos and brothels in Baku. I was fighting against them as hard as I could. In my articles, I repeatedly called on the Department on Combat against Human Trafficking to take action in this regard. Thus, I undermined the interests of MOCD, which was patronising those venues. This is the real reason I have been arrested. They have written that I was present during the search of my house. It is a lie. I was being kicked and punched at MOCD while my house was searched. They demanded me to admit extorting the money. I have not committed any crime. I have to be released, and those who got me arrested must be put behind bars, because it is not me but they who are criminals,” the journalist said and concluded his testimony.

The next hearing was set for 27 December, 3 pm.

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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