Supreme Court Dismisses Khadija Ismayil’s Appeal in Defamation Case

June 28th, 2016

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Summary: Hearing 1

 Khadija Ismayil’s lawyer Yalchin Imanov filed a verbal motion requesting that former chief of the Anti-Terrorism Center of the dissolved Ministry of National Security Elchin Guliyev, who is now arrested and held in Baku Detention Facility, to be summoned and interrogated as a witness. The motion was denied;
 Khadija Ismayil’s lawyers Fariz Namazli and Yalchin Imanov made a speech in support of the cassational appeal, and asked for the journalist’s acquittal;
 Khadija Ismayil also made a speech and asked the court to render a verdict of acquittal for her;
 Judicial Chamber upheld Baku Appeal Court’s decision of September 29, 2015.

Supreme Court, chaired by Judge Gulzar Rzayeva (judges Imran Hajigayibov and Farhad Aliyev), heard the appeal filed against Baku Appeal Court’s decision of September 29, 2015 on the criminal case, in which journalist Khadija Ismayil was convicted under Article 147.2 (libel) of the Criminal Code and was sentenced to a fine of 2,500 AZN. Elman Turkoglu filed a lawsuit by way of private prosecution, asking the court to bring Khadija Ismayil to criminal responsibility under Article 147.2 (libel) of the Criminal Code. He claimed that a piece of information shared by Khadija Ismayil on her Facebook account constituted intrusion into his private life and was slanderous of him. Binagadi District Court sentenced the journalist to a 2,500 AZN fine on February 23, 2015. Baku Court of Appeal upheld the verdict on September 29, 2015. However, under Milli Majlis’ amnesty act of May 26, 2016, Khadija Ismayil was granted amnesty on this case.

Today’s hearing was attended by journalist Khadija Ismayil and her lawyers Yalchin Imanov and Fariz Namazli. Private prosecutor Elman Hasanov (Elman Turkoglu) and his representative did not participate.

Lawyer’s motion:

The presiding judge asked whether the defense wanted to file any motions. Lawyer Yalchin Imanov filed a verbal motion requesting that former chief of the Anti-Terrorism Center of the dissolved Ministry of National Security Elchin Guliyev, who is now arrested and held in Baku Detention Facility, to be summoned and interrogated as a witness. As a justification for the motion, the lawyer said that during examination of the case in Binagadi District Court, documents signed by Elchin Guliyev and consisting of 48 pages in total were received by the court based on the court’s inquiry. Those documents read that Khadija Ismayil posted documents about Elman Hasanov on her Facebook page in October 2011, but then deleted that post. The lawyer said that the claims made in the documents received with Elchin Guliyev’s signature were completely groundless and were never proven, but despite of it, a verdict of guilty was passed on Khadija Ismayil based on those documents. The lawyer stressed that although they had repeatedly filed that motion in lower courts, it had not been sustained. Lawyer Fariz Namazli and Khadija Ismayil also defended the motion.

After that, the presiding judge reminded the lawyers of Supreme Court’s scope of competence, noting that the court was not authorized to review the evidence. The lawyer objected to it, but upon a prompt deliberation the judicial chamber denied the motion as unfounded.

Lawyers’ speeches:

Khadija Ismayil’s lawyer Fariz Namazli made a speech in support of the cassational appeal:

“By its judgment of February 23, 2015, Binagadi District Court (presiding judge Sadraddin Hajiyev) found Khadija Ismayil guilty of committing the crime specified in Article 147.2 (libel) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic and sentenced her to a fine amounting to 2500 (two thousand and five hundred) AZN. Baku Appeal Court heard the appeal filed against the verdict of the above-mentioned court on September 29, 2015, and dismissed the appeal. Baku Appeal Court’s decision of September 29, 2015 is unlawful and groundless and must therefore be repealed. The criminal proceedings against Khadija Ismayil must be terminated on exculpatory grounds. Binagadi District Court issued its verdict in violation of the requirements of the criminal procedure law, and Baku Court of Appeal overlooked this illegality. Inasmuch as, private prosecutor Hasanov Elman Hasan oglu filed a complaint with the court by way of private prosecution, requesting that Khadija Ismayil be brought to criminal responsibility, found guilty and sentenced under Article 147.2 of the Criminal Code and handed a severe punishment stipulated in that article. Binagadi District Court did not refuse to accept this complaint for consideration when it was obliged to do so. It accepted the complaint for consideration, heard it and rendered a verdict of guilty against Khadija Ismayil. In addition, the complaint was not substantiated from criminological aspect. The text, which was actually posted by Khadija Ismayil on Facebook social network on February 17, 2014, did not contain the words “Hasanov” or “Elman” or any other information that might be helpful to determine the identity of the complainant,” the lawyer said.

Khadija Ismayil, who also made a speech at the hearing, said the charges were unfounded and requested acquittal.

Judicial Chamber upheld Baku Appeal Court’s decision of September 29, 2015.