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On March 17, a Shaki Court of Grave Crimes convicted Ilgar Mammadov, a chairman of the opposition group REAL (Republican Alternative), and Tofig Yagublu, deputy chair of the opposition political party Musavat, and a journalist with the opposition newspaper Yeni Musavat, and sentenced them to seven and five years in jail, respectively.
The court also took a decision to file a complaint against about Ilgar Mammadov’s attorneys Fuad Agayev and Khalid Bagirov. The court decision states that the defense have distorted the testimonies in their speeches, failed to take part in court hearings and they are likely to use distorted testimonies while filing an appeal.
In the meantime, International monitors who observed the trial noted irregularities in the testimonies and proceedings that, in conjunction with the long pre-trail detention coinciding with elections, indicate the verdict and sentence were politically motivated.
Lawyer Fuad Agayev wrote on his Facebook page that although he could not attend the hearing, he was informed about the decision. “My defense speech may be found on the internet. In my speech, I give an incomplete list of the violations committed by judge Rashid Huseynov during the process. Since the start of the process, the judge banned usage of any technical equipment, including my tablet. We shall appeal over his actions to the Judicial-Legal Council and the Ministry of Justice which has a power to start discipline proceedings in relation to him. We cannot let people like Rashid Huseynov to look down on and boss the people who do not turn a blind eye to his arbitrariness,” said Agayev.
Lawyer Khalid Bagirov in his turn told the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety instead of the 18 accused the judge has passed a decision on 20 people.
“Together with Fuad Agayev, I defended the rights of Ilgar Mammadov. The faults that we found with the way Rashid Huseynov judged the case angered him and he appealed to the Collegium alleging discourtesy and manipulation of testimonies from our side in order to disqualify us from Ilgar Mammadov’s defense, when we are planning to file an appeal on behalf of him,” said Bagirov.