Khadija Ismayil Seeks Compensation for Illegal Detention

August 17th, 2016

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Sabail District Court, chaired by Judge Azer Tagiyev, held a preliminary hearing on journalist Khadija Ismayil’s compensation claim against the Prosecutor General’s Office. Khadija Ismayil is seeking 9,030 AZN in material damages and 20,000 AZN in non-pecuniary damage for the period during which she was illegally held in detention on the charge of driving to suicide (Article 125 of Criminal Code) which she has been acquitted of. 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.

At today’s hearing, Khadija Ismayil’s lawyer Yalchin Imanov said Khadija Ismayil was arrested on 5 December 2014 on a charge brought under Article 125 of Criminal Code. “She was held in detention until 6 March 2015. On 1 September 2015, when Baku Grave Crimes Court sentenced Khadija Ismayil to 8 years and 5 months in jail for economic crimes, she was acquitted of the charge under Article 125. Thus, she was illegally detained from 5 December 2014 till 6 March 2015, i.e. for 91 days. Khadija Ismayil has estimated the overall material damages caused to her at 9 thousand and 30 manats. And for moral damages, the journalist is demanding 20 thousand manats,” the lawyer noted.

Gunel Akbarova, the representative of defendant Baku City Prosecutor’s Office, made a brief speech disagreeing with the claim and calling it unfounded. She said they would present their objection to the claim at the next hearing.

Lawyer Yalchin Imanov in turn stated that the lawsuit was substantiated in accordance with the law. “During the period of illegal detention, Khadija Ismayil incurred a loss of wages at a rate of 2,000 AZN per month. In addition, she incurred costs for legal services provided to her. It is well known that there is no public transport to the proximity of Pre-Trial Detention Facility #1 located in Kurdakhani. Her relatives incurred taxi costs and food costs each time they visited her. She estimated these costs at 9 thousand and 30 manats. Our demand is concise, concrete and completely lawful,” Imanov said.

The next hearing was set for August 24, 10.00am.