Supreme Court Commutes Political Party Activist Elvin Abdullayev’s Sentence

June 22nd, 2016

elvin abdullaye v

Summary: Hearing 1

 At the hearing, Elvin Abdullayev’s lawyer Ali Mehtiyev made an oral argument on the appeal, and asked the court to pass a verdict of acquittal for the youth activist;
 Public prosecutor Rasul Abbasov in turn said that Elvin Abdullayev was proved guilty based on video recordings and witness testimonies during the trial, and asked for dismissal of the appeal;
 Judicial Chamber changed Baku Grave Crimes Court’s judgment of June 1, 2015. The court replaced the original charge Elvin Abdullayev had been convicted of, i.e. Article 234.4.3 (drug trafficking in a large quantity) of the Criminal Code with Article 234.1 (illegal drug possession in a quantity exceeding those for personal consumption without the intent to sell), and sentenced the activist to 2.5 years in jail. 

Supreme Court chaired by Judge Imran Hajigayibov heard the appeal by Elvin Abdullayev, a member of the Youth Committee of the opposition Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP). Elvin Abdullayev was arrested in January 2015. He was charged under article 234.4.3 (drug trafficking) of the Criminal Code, which stipulates a punishment of imprisonment for a period of 5 to 12 years and confiscation of property. Elvin Abdullayev was active on social networks and wrote very critical posts about government policies. He was tortured after being arrested. He was kept without food or water for 3 days and was subjected to physical torture. Elvin Abdullayev is a student of Azerbaijani Pedagogical University, where he was once rebuked by a deputy rector for criticizing the authorities among students. APFP considers his arrest politically motivated and another step by the government aimed at silencing critical voices.

Elvin Abdullayev did not attend the hearing, as he had not applied to the court for attendance. According to the legislation, the accused person should apply to the court in advance if he wants to attend his appeal hearing. The activist’s lawyer Ali Mehtiyev and public prosecutor Rasul Abbasov were in attendance.

Speech by Elvin Abdullayev’s lawyer:

Elvin Abdullayev’s lawyer Ali Mehtiyev made a speech at the hearing and asked for his client’s acquittal: “By the verdict dated June 1, 2015 of Baku Grave Crimes Court, Elvin Abdullayev was found guilty under Article 234.4.3 of the Criminal Code and was sentenced to 6 years in jail. Despite an appeal, the court verdict was upheld.”

“The motions, which I filed in court as the defense counsel and which would have led to Elvin Abdullayev’s acquittal, were not granted by the court. And thus, in violation of the requirements of the Criminal Procedure Code, all the circumstances connected with the criminal prosecution were not investigated comprehensively, completely and objectively, and the issues that I raised in the motions went unexamined during the judicial investigation. For this reason, as the defense we were left defenseless in court. The judicial investigation was completed without a fair trial. In the absence of a fair trial, the defense’s position considerably weakens and effectively becomes dependent on the evidence presented by the prosecution, which eventually results in an unlawful and unfair court decision. Elvin Abdullayev has not committed any crime, and should be acquitted,” the lawyer said.

Public prosecutor Rasul Abbasov in turn said that Elvin Abdullayev was proved guilty based on video recordings and witness testimonies during the trial, and asked for dismissal of the appeal.

Judicial Chamber changed Baku Grave Crimes Court’s judgment of June 1, 2015. The court replaced the original charge Elvin Abdullayev had been convicted of, i.e. Article 234.4.3 (drug trafficking in a large quantity) of the Criminal Code with Article 234.1 (illegal drug possession in a quantity exceeding those for personal consumption without the intent to sell), and sentenced the activist to 2.5 years in jail.