SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS JABBAR SAVALANLI’S SENTENCE

November 29th, 2011
Today, the Azerbaijan Supreme Court heard the cassation appeal filed by the arrested youth activist and member of Popular Front Party Jabbar Savalanli.

Judge Imran Hajigayibov presided over the hearing. The appeal was filed against the Sumgayit Appeals Court decision of 26 July 2011 to sentence Savalanli to 2.5 years in jail for the possession of illegal drugs.

The youth activist’s lawyer Asabali Mustafayev and public prosecutor Mahir Abbasov were in attendance. Anar Gasimov, another lawyer of Savalanli, failed to attend due to a business trip. Representatives from British, French and Norwegian embassies, and a number of media representatives observed the court hearing.

Lawyer Mustafayev said that Savalanli told her mother in his meeting with her yesterday that he has not received a notification whihch would allow him to attend the court hearing. However, Judge Hajigayibov stated that a notificiation letter had been sent to the prison #10, where Savalanli is held.

Then the lawyer said that Savalanli’s arrest is illegal; his right for defence was violated at the time of arrest; and his arrest is linked with his political views.

Public Prosecutor objected to the lawyer and said that at the time of arrest, Savalanli was provided with a lawyer by the state, but he didn’t accept that lawyer.

After deliberation, Hajigayibov announced the decision to uphold the decision of appeals court.

BACKGROUND

Jabbar Savalanli was arrested on February 5th, 2011, charged with possession of illegal drugs. On May 4th, Sumgayit City Court sentenced Savalanli to 2.5 years in jail. Sumgayit Appeal Court didn’t grant the appeal filed on July 26th, 2011 However, local and international human rights organizations believe that the criminal case was a politically motivated response to Savalanli’s activities on social networking sites.  Amnesty International Organization considers Jabbar Savalanli a prisoner of conscience.