Satirical Poet Remains in Jail

The Supreme Court heard satirical poet Tofig Hasanli’s cassation appeal at a hearing chaired by Judge Imran Hajigayibov. According to the poet’s lawyers, the appeal was not granted. Hasanli was also attending the court session, where he sought the annulment of the lower courts’ judgment and his acquittal.
“My lawyers’ requests and petitions in courts were all rejected. They did not investigate my case fairly. I am but a poet, whom they framed with drugs. They did not say whom I took the drugs from and whom I sold them to. They just affirmed what the investigating agency had written,” Hasanli said. Lawyer Zibeyda Zakaryayeva defended the cassation appeal and stated that the charges had not proven true. But the court rejected the appeal and upheld the original court verdict issued against Tofig Hasanli.
Tofig Hasanli was sentenced to 6 years in jail on drug trafficking charges on 22 August 2016. His previous appeal against conviction was also dismissed. Hasanli used his Facebook and Youtube accounts to disseminate his poems critical of the authorities. In January 2015, he stated that he was threatened with arrest, and he was detained in October. Before that, his critical poems were read on the Azerbaijani Hour program broadcasted from abroad.
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