Court Proceedings Commence on Blogger Mehman Huseynov’s Appeal against Prosecutor’s Office

March 27th, 2017

> Despite claims that no torture took place, the prosecutor’s office investigating the blogger’s torture allegations failed to provide the appropriate materials or evidence;

> The court gave the prosecutor’s office time to serve the documents.

On 27 March, Sabail District Court considered the appeal against the decision of Baku City Prosecutor’s Office on refusal to initiate a criminal case as a result of investigations into IRFS Chairman and blogger Mehman Huseynov’s allegations of having been tortured by the police.

The hearing took place behind closed doors, under presiding judge Aytan Aliyeva. Mehman Huseynov’s presence in the hearing was ensured. His rights were defended by lawyers Elchin Sadigov and Fuad Agayev.

Lawyer Elchin Sadigov told reporters that they had lodged a motion with regard to the failure of the prosecutor’s office to serve Mehman Huseynov and his defence counsels with the materials of the decision on declining to launch criminal proceedings.

According to lawyer Fuad Agayev, the investigator has referred to the implementation of taking statements from various persons, conducting a forensic medical examination, sending inquiries and performing other procedural actions in the decision. “It appears from the decision that the investigator has failed to fulfil his duties fully and thoroughly. Therefore, we wanted the materials of the decision on refusal to start a criminal case to be presented to us, because the investigator comes to court with materials, but we leave empty-handed. We only have the final decision made by the investigator. The materials need to be provided in order to ensure the principle of equality of arms in court hearings,” the lawyer said.

According to the lawyers, the court granted the motion and set a deadline of 28 March to provide the documents.

The lawyers further lodged motions to question additional witnesses, obtain the camera recordings pertaining to the time the blogger had spent in Nasimi District Police Department and medical examination of Mehman Huseynov. The court deferred decision on these motions.

The proceedings will continue on 28 March, at 2 pm.

Background: Mehman Huseynov was detained in the evening hours on 9 January. He was released after being convicted and fined AZN 200 under Article 535.1 (disobedience to a lawful requirement of the police) of the Administrative Violations Code. Following the hearing, Huseynov told journalists that he was harassed for his professional activities and had been tortured by the police officers.

Following this interview, the Ministry of Internal Affairs filed a petition with the Prosecutor General’s Office, noting that Mehman Huseynov had made baseless allegations in his press statements such as his abduction by the police, illegal restriction of his freedom, and his subjection to torture including physical pain and mental suffering, in order to deceive the public and to undermine the reputation of the police.

“The Ministry of Internal Affairs has filed a petition with the Prosecutor General’s Office of the country to give a legal assessment of Mehman Huseynov’s act of slandering the police by accusing them of a serious crime. Additional information on the results of the investigation will be published,” the Ministry’s statement read.

Mehman Huseynov says he has undergone a medical examination in connection with his harassment and injuries sustained. “We filed a complaint with Baku City Prosecutor’s Office due to the tortures inflicted on me, but the prosecutor’s office declined to launch a criminal case in this connection,” Huseynov added.

Mehman Huseynov is the editor of the popular critical Facebook page Sancaq and the chairman of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety.

Mehman Huseynov, the founder and manager of the Facebook page Sancaq (https://www.facebook.com/Sancaq.biz/?fref=nf) having 323,000 followers, has recently been producing videos on senior officials’ and parliamentarians’ expensive properties. He has also been making videos on important socio-political processes taking place in the country. Huseynov’s latest video was a street poll on first lady Mehriban Aliyeva’s appointment as first vice president by President Ilham Aliyev. The question he asked the respondents was ‘would you give your wife a post if you were in charge’.

Link to the video: https://www.facebook.com/Sancaq.biz/videos/1410330369037361/?__mref=message_bubble