Lawyer Seeks Acquittal of Journalist and NGO Activist Elchin Hasanov

elcin hesenov

Summary: Hearing 3

 Fariz Namazli, the attorney of the journalist and NGO activist Elchin Hasanov, made a speech at the hearing and asked for his client’s acquittal;
 Journalist Elchin Hasanov also wanted to make a speech, but the judge did not give him the floor and postponed the hearing.

Nizami District Court, chaired by judge Mazahir Sadigov, held a hearing on the hooliganism case against Elchin Hasanov, deputy Editor-in-Chief of the website, and Deputy Director of the NGO Legal Education of Sumgait Youth. The criminal case against Hasanov was opened on March 3, 2016, under Article 221.1 (hooliganism) of the Criminal Case. On March 4, the case was reclassified from Article 221.1 (hooliganism) to Article 221.3 (hooliganism, committed with a weapon) of the Criminal Code. According to the indictment, Elchin Hasanov and Jafar Jafarov – previously unacquainted – insulted each other on Facebook. Following their online exchange, they met in person, and Elchin Hasanov allegedly kicked Jafar Jafarov for no reason and assaulted him with a blunt metal object unknown to the investigating authority. Hasanov’s legal representative is Fariz Namazli.
Courtroom speech by Elchin Hasanov’s lawyer:

Elchin Hasanov’s lawyer Fariz Namazli made a speech at the hearing:

“My client Hasanov Elchin Yusif oglu is charged under Article 221.3 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic. I believe that the charges brought against him are wrong and the case against him should therefore be discontinued on exculpatory grounds. According to the accusations against Elchin Hasanov, he allegedly exchanged curses with Jafarov Jafar Mazahir oglu, whom he did not know or have relationship with previously, on the Facebook social network, after which upon Elchin Hasanov’s invitation Jafar Jafarov came to the rear of the administrative building of Tabriz Cinema, a public place located in Nizami district of Baku, at around 20.30 on February 16, 2015, where Elchin Hasanov for no reason committed acts roughly violating the public order, expressing open disrespect to the society and accompanied with use of violence against citizens through the use of objects used as a weapon, i.e. uttered obscenities at Jafar Jafarov, and in defiance of the other people around him, through prejudiced violation of the established rules of behavior among people in the society and by showing obvious and significant apathy and indifference to the public order for himself and other people, raised a clamor and caused a damage of an indefinite degree to Jafarov’s health resulting in abrasions on his right cheek and the front surface of his neck through punches and kicks and using a shiny metal object considered as a blunt object unknown to the investigative agency, and thus committed an act of hooliganism. Interrogated as part of the case, the defendant Elchin Hasanov and the victim Jafar Jafarov stated that they talked behind the Tabriz Cinema building for 20 to 30 minutes, and this conversation eventually turned into an argument and then they fought. During this time, there was no one around them. Only when they grappled and fell to the ground, someone came and pulled them apart. In other words, no one saw the incident. Therefore, first-hand witnesses were not identified. This confirms that the accused person did not have hooligan intent,” the lawyer said.

The lawyer noted that the criminal legislation assigns the crime of hooliganism to the category of crimes against public safety, with its main object being public order, and additional object being social relations associated with the protection of people’s health, honor and dignity, as well as property. Crimes against public safety are socially dangerous acts violating the protection of the public order, the safety and health of the person, his honor and dignity, and the private and public property, as well as the rules established by the legislation to ensure people’s work and rest and the normal functioning of institutions and organizations.

“According to the decision dated May 20, 2011 of the Constitutional Court on interpretation of Article 221.3 of the Criminal Code, the motive of the crime of hooliganism is the culprit’s intent to confirm him as an exceptional personality fundamentally different from others in the minds of an indefinite group of people. Direct forethought constitutes the subjective aspect of this crime. By showing obvious disrespect to the society through his actions, the culprit realizes that he is roughly violating the public order, foresees that these actions may harm the victim’s health or result in damage to or destruction of another person’s property, and he wishes so. The prerequisite of the subjective aspect of hooliganism is the motive of this crime. Deliberate attempt to put oneself against public order, demonstrating one’s power, predisposition to scandal and taking vengeance on individuals trying to prevent indecency constitute the core of the motive. As seen from the circumstances of the case, the incident occurred as a result of a previous dispute between the victim and the defendant, in that, they first got to know each other on the Facebook social network and argued there. And already when they met in front of Tabriz Cinema, they intended to settle this dispute. It cannot be regarded as hooliganism. The defendant’s intention was not to violate public order but to find out if the offensive articles published on various media outlets about him had been written by the victim. The fact that their conversation eventually turned into an argument cannot be regarded as hooliganism either, because the place where they were talking was a dark place far away from people, and there was nobody around, and, generally speaking, they did nothing to disturb the people who were nearby. This incident stemmed from the personal relations between the two people and no public order violation or damage to social relations was the case here. Therefore, it’s in no case right to bring the hooliganism charge against the defendant,” Fariz Namazli added.

The lawyer asked the court to acquit Elchin Hasanov.

After that, journalist Elchin Hasanov also wanted to make a speech, but the judge did not give him the floor.

The next court hearing was set for May 25, 10.30am.

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