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The trial of Ismayilli rioting prisoners and journalist Tofig Yagublu continued in Shaki Court on Grave Crimes on 27-28 January. The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) was informed about this by the journalist’s lawyer Nemat Karimli.
“Family members of Tofig Yagublu had a terrible car accident on their way to Baku after January 21 hearing on his case, and his wife needs surgery. For that reason we appealed to the judge to replace Yagublu’s detention sentence with house arrest, taking into account the family’s condition. Besides, during the prepatory hearing in justification of the denial of a similar motion, the judge said that letting Yagublu free can enable him to influence witnesses and victims. But it is no longer probable, now that most of the witnesses and victims have testified. Nevertheless, the judge didn’t grant our request”, the lawyer said.
Karimli said that on the next day of trial, dwellers of Hajihatamli village of Ismayilli, as well as “Azadlig” newspaper reporter Ramin Deko Jabrayilzada and Yagublu’s colleague “Musavat” newspaper Elshan Balakhanski Mammadov gave testimony.
“The villagers said during police questioning they provided statement under pressure, being insulted by the police officers. Even one of the policemen threw an ashtray at them. Such witness statements against Tofig Yagublu and Ilgar Mammadov are meaningless,” Karimli noted.
Background: Tofig Yagublu was arrested on 4 February 2013, for allegedly attempting to undermine stability in Ismayilli region by calling on the locals to resist the police and block the roads, during his visit to the region on January 24. He was eventually sentenced to two months of pretrial detention by Nasimi District Court on charges of “organizing public disorder” (Article 233 of the Criminal Code) and “resisting the representative of authorities or using violence against them” (Article 315 of the Criminal Code). Yagublu’s appeal against the decision was denied by the Baku Appeals Court on February 8. On April 27 one of the previous two charges filed against Yagublu, “organizing public disorder” (Article 233/Criminal Code), was replaced by that of “organizing or participating in mass disorders accompanied by violence, looting, arson, destruction of property, application of fire-arms or explosives, or armed resistance against representative of authority” (Article 220.1/Criminal Code) which carries a maximum of 12 years imprisonment.