Khadija Ismayil Asks for Clarification on Sentence Imposed on Her

June 6th, 2016

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Investigative journalist Khadija Ismayil has appealed to the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Court judge Ali Seyfaliyev to clarify why the 5-year probation period imposed against her by the Supreme Court exceeded her primary sentence and to explain suspended sentence rules.

“Based on my appeal, on May 25, 2016, the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan Republic changed Baku Grave Crimes Court’s verdict against me, which was later upheld by Baku Appeal Court, and imposed a 3.5-year suspended sentence against me with a 5-year probation period. As the legitimacy of the probation period being longer than the primary sentence seems suspicious, we kindly ask you to answer the following questions. Are there similar precedents in judicial practice regarding conditionally sentenced persons receiving probation? If yes, please inform me about such examples,” the journalist’s appeal to the Ministry of Justice reads.

Khadija Ismayil also appealed to the Supreme Court judge Ali Seyfaliyev. “Your Honor, a copy of the Supreme Court decision dated May 25, 2016 concerning me is not available on your website. The decision has not been presented to me, either. The extract presented to me in prison does not specify the obligations imposed on me by the court in connection with the suspended sentence. Please send me a copy of the decision, upload it on the website and explain my obligations related to the suspended sentence,” the journalist noted in her appeal.

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.