People Who “Liked” Facebook Post of Arrested Opposition Party Member Interrogated as Witnesses

June 29th, 2016

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People who “liked” opposition Azerbaijan Popular Front Party’s (APFP) arrested Chairman Fuad Gahramanli’s Facebook posts, which are cited as the reason for his arrest, have been interrogated by the investigating authority as witnesses, Fuad Gahramanli’s lawyer Yalchin Imanov told the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS).

Fuad Gahramanli was arrested on December 8, 2015. He is charged under Articles 281 (making appeals against the state), 283 (instigation of national, racial, social or religious hatred and hostility) and 220.2 (incitement to active insubordination to lawful demands of a representative of authority and to mass disorders, as well as to violence against citizens) of the Criminal Code. Amnesty International has declared Fuad Gahramanli “prisoner of conscience.”

According to Yalchin Imanov, although Fuad Gahramanli was arrested for his Facebook posts, his case has been merged with the criminal case of people arrested during Nardaran events. The lawyer said that the investigation of the criminal case had been completed and they were now getting familiarized with the case materials.

“As I was familiarizing myself with the case materials, I saw that the investigation had been conducted in a biased and one-sided manner. There is no evidence to prove Fuad Gahramanli guilty. After familiarization with the case materials, we submitted a motion to the prosecutor’s office to discontinue the criminal case, but our motion was denied,” Imanov said.

Yalchin Imanov added that the criminal case would be sent to Baku Grave Crimes Court soon. Fuad Gahramanli will be brought before the court together with arrested theologian Taleh Bagirzade and others.

Background: An armed incident occurred between a group of believers and policemen in Nardaran settlement of Baku on November 26, 2015, during an operation conducted by the police. According to official reports, the shootout resulted in the death of six, including two police officers. Taleh Bagirzade, the leader of the Muslim Union Movement, and several believers were detained as part of the operation. A criminal case has been launched on the fact and is investigated by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Azerbaijan Republic.