Popular Front Party activist sentenced to  460 hours of community service

On September 5, Khatai District Court of Baku sentenced Gulnara Rahimova, a member of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan, to 460 hours of community service, finding her guilty under Art. 147.2 (slander about committing a serious crime) and 148 (insult) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan.

Rahimova was punished on the basis of a complaint filed against her in the form of a private criminal charge by an employee of the Nasimi district police department, sergeant Seymur Imanov.

The reason for the complaint was the publication on August 11 by Rahimova of a photo of a police sergeant on facebook indicating that Imanov was among the security forces who beat a young Musavat party activist Aziz Mamiev after being detained at a protest on July 20 demanding “Open land borders”.

Rahimova denied the accusation, saying that she did not insult the police officer, but only shared his photo and indicated that he was among the police officers who beat Mamiev.

The activist himself, also speaking in court as a witness, confirmed that Imanov was among the police officers who beat him.

Rahimova considered the verdict politically motivated and intends to appeal.

The  verdict was also condemned by PFPA leader Ali Karimli. “Punishing innocent people stems from the repressive nature of this regime. Gulnara Rahimova is being punished for being a member of the PFPA, for her active participation in protests, and for criticizing the authorities on social networks. Law enforcement agencies should not be involved in the suppression of the protest voices of citizens. The police should not interfere in politics,” Karimli said.

Rahimova’s lawyer, Zibeyda Sadigova, also stated that the verdict was unfounded. “The court should not have taken this complaint into consideration at all. There were no signs of slander or insult in Rahimova’s publication. She only stated what she witnessed,” the lawyer said, noting that the photo of the policeman was taken from open sources. Police sergeant Imanov was not available for comment.

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