July 8th, 2008

Yesterday (7 June) journalist Mahal Ismayiloglu was interrogated in the Absheron Police Department.

M. Ismayiloglu’s lawyer Elchin Sadigov, who went to the department at 8:00 p.m. with the journalist, told this to the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety. According to Sadigov, M. Ismayiloglu will go there on 9 July at 8:00 pm, and confrontation will be conducted on the case.
 IRFS contacted M.Ismayiloglu today to learn his position about this matter.
 “When I testified I told them once again that we quarreled with Vahid Imanov’s servant only verbally. On 20 and 21 June I told my neighbor’s servant not to dump trash in my yard. It is strange that only 21 June is noted in their complaint. However, I spoke harsher on 20 June. My neighbor Vahid Isayev, who witnessed the incident, wasn’t interrogated, while my other neighbors that didn’t witness our quarrel testified against me. The fact that this is an politically motivated case is very clear,” he said.

Ismayiloglu added that a criminal case on Article 221.3 of the Criminal Code (hooliganism with use of a weapon or weapon-like item) was opened against him.

M. Ismayiloglu was called to the Absheron District Police Department on 27 June. In the department he was notified that his neighbor Vahid Imanov, who works in the Ministry of Interior, filed a complaint about him. In the complaint it is alleged that the journalist beat his neighbor's servant for dumping trash in his yard.

Mahal Ismayiloglu worked as the editor-in-chief of "Khalg Gazeti" newspaper, one of the official newspapers of the Presidential Executive Administration, for years. He was dismissed in 2002, and is now writing for “Yeni Musavat” Newspaper.

*According to Article 221.3 of Azerbaijan’s Criminal Code, when hooliganism is committed using weapon or weapon-like item, the accused person might be imprisoned for up to three to seven years.