MUSHFIG HUSEYNOV IMPRISONED FOR SIX YEARS

January 21st, 2008
Today in the Grave Court under the chairmanship of the Judge Jamal Ramazanov the trial for “Bizim Yol” Newspaper correspondent Mushfig Huseynov concluded. 

First the public prosecutor was given the floor. He made a speech saying that Mushfig Huseynov should be found guilty, as the journalist’s guilt was proven through material introduced to the court during the trial, and asked the judge to sentence Huseynov to 7 years of imprisonment.  
After the public prosecutor, defense lawyer Vugar Khasayev was given the floor. Khasayev told the court that in notation list under Article 308 (to abuse duty authority) of the Criminal Code the term “official” is explained. According to the Criminal Code, the term “official” includes a person who realizes state representatives’ functions permanently and/or temporarily with special authority, or people who carry out organizer-commanders’ functions or administrative-economy functions in state institutions, municipalities, state and municipality organs, offices and organizations, and commercial and non-commercial organizations. Then Khasayev considered Huseynov’s position. He said, “Let’s review M. Huseynov’s position in the newspaper. There is not even a special card which affirms M. Huseynov as a correspondent. He just wrote articles for the newspaper. Within M. Huseynov’s imprisonment the investigators found some documents related to his business affairs and a registration number which he got from the tax ministry. It was only some time later that a card without any seal and signature confirming M.Huseynov’s editor position was uncovered and included with the investigative materials on this case. Though we asked the court to interrogate newspaper editor-in-chief Bahaddin Haziyev in the courtroom as a witness, our petition wasn’t fulfilled by the court. We wanted Bahaddin Haziyev to reveal how a card without any seal and signature for editor was added to the investigative materials. Taking all these things into consider, Mushfig cannot be considered an “official,” who was responsible for the publishing of the articles. I mean we can’t convict Huseynov as a competent person. The second matter is related to the bribe. Huseynov didn’t take initiative regarding the taking money and he didn’t demand money. If on 12 June 2007 Huseynov demanded from Rizvan Aliyev money, why he didn’t appeal to the law-enforcement organs immediately? Generally, Huseynov’s imprisonment part of a game carried out against the press and journalists. There was mounting pressure against the state to release other journalists within his imprisonment. The plot involving Huseynov was realized to diminish this pressure. We can’t ignore the money matter during the incident. Huseynov was convinced that article about the minister’s family would published. I mean national mentality was used in this process. Rizvan Aliyev repeatedly was provocative suggestions to M. Huseynov during their meetings. For example, he noted once that this money is for him (ed. still unknown source of information about the minister’s family), but what about you? As there is not any criminal intent in Mushfig Huseynov’s actions, he must be rehabilitated.”  
Another defense lawyer, Ramiz Musayev, said, “There is a phonophotoscopic assessment among the investigative materials, and this is no evidence in the material to suggest that that Mushfig Huseynov demanded a bribe. In fact, on the contrary there is evidence that Ministry of Labor and Social Defense Administration head Rizvan Aliyev offered a bribe. That is why the court must take into consideration that Aliyev is a state official and the materials over on this matter should be sent to the prosecutor office.”
Then M. Huseynov made his final statement. Huseynov expressed his innocence and read some excerpts from his conversations with Rizvan Aliyev that have not previously been made public. In the conversations, according to Huseynov, it is clear that he did not demand a bribe and was deceived by Aliyev. Tomorrow, Husenyov’s speech, as well as other materials from the case, will be translated and placed on the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety’s website, www.irfs.az .  
After hearing all of these speeches, the judge announced a recess and went for consultations. Upon returning, he read the verdict. According to the verdict, Huseynov is sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment, and forbidden from working as a journalist for two additional years after he is released from prison.