The trial began in the case of Faig Amirli

May 21st, 2017

In the Sabail District Court, under the chairmanship of Ayten Aliyeva, a preparatory meeting on the case of the financial director of the newspaper Azadlig, Faig Amirli, began.

Attorneys at the embassies of the United States, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, EU missions, leaders of the Popular Front Party, human rights activists, journalists attended the trial. However, the hall was very small, and despite the fact that additional chairs were put, not everyone could fit in the hall. The process began with motions. The lawyers petitioned to hold a meeting in the spacious hall, videotaping the forensic process to ensure transparency, and that Amirli be released from a glass cage and placed next to lawyers, stopping criminal proceedings and acquitting the accused. The judge rejected all applications.

Following this, lawyers Fakhraddin Mehdiyev and Agil Laidzhev declared a political order of charges.

“The criminal case is so ridiculous that the European Court of Human Rights immediately began communication under Article 5 (the right to liberty and security of the person)” in 27 volumes of the criminal case against Amirli, and after that my charges were dropped from my client Ties with Fatullah Gulen. But the investigation came up with new charges. The investigation accused Amirli of intending to spread religious and ethnic hatred. Is the prosecutor that clairvoyant? “– said the lawyer.

Zate was advised by lawyer Mehdiyev: “At first it was claimed that religious books and CDs were found in Amirli’s car, but then they realised that the book was officially published and its author was a competent person and this episode was withdrawn from the case. This also does not prove anything, since the article on which Amirli is accused implies the spread of religious, national strife in the media. “Let Amirli show us this media.” Amirli was not an official and did not have any official authority, as stated in his employment contract. Mehdiyev then presented the employment contract to the judge, where it is stated that Amirli performs courier and other technical functions.

Attorney Lajev continued the speech: “The investigation calculated the tax debt on the basis of the newspaper’s price, not taking into account editorial, printed and other expenses, as well as the return of unsold newspapers. Despite the fact that the Azadlig newspaper was sold for the last year for 60, and earlier – for 40 cents, the editorial staff charged tax debts based on the price of 60 cents. The total amount of debt is calculated to be 39,000 manats.” After this, Mehdiyev presented the judge with the invoice for Gazad’s debt to the Azadlig newspaper for AZN 69,000: “If the state firm Gazad does not return the money of the editorial staff, how can it incur a tax debt? The newspaper has no debt and the calculations have been carried out incorrectly, “said the lawyer.

After that lawyer, Laidzhev again announced the petition for a change in the measure of restraint: “Amirli suffers from stomach and gallbladder diseases, he is married, has two young children, has not been tried before, he has no opportunity to hide from the investigation and put pressure on him. The investigation does not have any evidence of Amirli’s activity in inciting hatred. There are only grounds for releasing Amirli and changing the measure of restraint.” The court heard all the petitions against which the prosecutor subsequently spoke and retired to the meeting. After more than an hour’s break, the judge returned to the hall and announced the verdict – a rejection of all the petitions.

The next meeting is scheduled for June 1.

It should be noted that Faig Amirli was detained on August 20, 2016, under articles: 168.1 (encroachment on the rights of citizens under the pretext of performing religious rites) and 283.2.2 (fomenting interreligious, interethnic, interracial and social hostility in the media).

On April 17, 2017, new charges were brought against him: under articles 213.1 (tax evasion) and 308 (abuse of official authority). However, as a result of the preliminary investigation, articles 168.1 and 308 were dropped.