The court sentenced religious blogger Rashad Ramazanov to 5 years and 4 months in prison

On February 5, the trial in the case of religious blogger Rashad Ramazanov, accused of drug trafficking, ended in the Baku Serious Crimes Court. The court sentenced him to 5 years and 4 months in prison, his wife Kenul Ramazanova said.
According to her, the court hastily completed the trial, because there was only one witness who was not questioned. Today, the state prosecutor came forward and proposed to sentence Rashad to 10 years in prison,” the wife said. In addition, the defendant was not allowed to make a closing statement.” Judge Azer Tagiyev simply asked: do you want an excuse? – to which Rashad replied “yes,” she continued. “My husband is innocent. Even the witnesses who appeared in court did not testify against him,” she said.
In turn, lawyer Elchin Sadigov said that Ramazanov stated in court that he was tortured after his detention. Even the examination recognized that the traces of violence on his body coincide with the time of his detention. “Ramazanov’s guilt has not been proven. The court should have acquitted him, but it passed a guilty verdict,” Sadigov said. For this reason, after the prosecutor’s speech, Ramazanov swallowed a battery in protest. The defense will appeal the verdict.
* Rashad Ramazanov was detained on May 20, 2022, and the next day he was arrested for 4 months on charges under Article 234.4.3 (large-scale drug trafficking) of the Criminal Code. He denied the charges, and human rights activists recognized him as a political prisoner.
Rashad Ramazanov was also arrested in May 2013 and sentenced to 9 years in prison also on charges of large-scale drug trafficking. He was pardoned in 2019.
Local human rights organizations stated that the real reason for the arrest was criticism of the authorities’ religious policy on social networks, recognizing Ramazanov as a political prisoner.

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