Trial Continues for Poet Saday Shakarli Accused of Extortion by Ministry of Taxes

April 27th, 2016

Summary: Hearing 6 (April 27)

  • The accused person Saday Shakarli is a poet, who was arrested on the basis of a complaint by the Ministry of Taxes. Saday Shakarli’s rights in court are defended by lawyers Fakhraddin Mehdiyev and Bahruz Bayramov. The public prosecutor is Abisalam Heydarov, and the alleged victim is a senior official of the Ministry of Taxes. However, so far in the trial, it has been unclear who this senior official is. The hearings have been attended by the victim’s representative Ramil Najafov. The bill of indictment also names the victim’s representative, but the victim himself is not identified.

  • At today’s hearing, the judge, referring to the response letter received from Azercell Telekom LLC on February 1 2016 and included in the case file, noted that “as seen from the phone call data of Saday Shakarli’s mobile phone number 050 714-29-27, there is no phone call made to the witness Asif Jahangirov among the incoming and outgoing calls. On the contrary, there are calls made to Saday Shakarli from Asif Jahangirov’s mobile number 050 210-27-44 on December 23 2015, at 15:46 and 17:30.” The judge also quoted the response letter as stating that Azercell Telekom LLC did not keep a log of missed calls.

  • The presiding judge announced the start of the document examination stage and named the documents in the bill of indictment.

  • The presiding judge said the lawyers’ motions would be considered at the next hearing.

Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Afgan Hajiyev held a hearing on the criminal case of poet Saday Shakarli, who was arrested on December 23, 2015 and is charged under Article 182.3.2 (extortion of a large amount of property) of the Criminal Code. He is accused of extorting 10,000 AZN by threatening to publish revelatory, discrediting and fictitious articles and to disseminate defamatory information about a senior official of the Ministry of Taxes on the mass media.     

The presiding judge read out Azercell Telekom LLC’s letter of response to the information request. The judge said this response letter confirmed the information provided in the response letter of February 1 2016 to the previous information inquiry, and did not contain any other information. Then, referring to the response letter received from Azercell Telekom LLC on February 1 2016 and included in the case file, the judge noted that “as seen from the phone call data of Saday Shakarli’s mobile phone number 050 714-29-27, there is no phone call made to the witness Asif Jahangirov among the incoming and outgoing calls. On the contrary, there are calls made to Saday Shakarli from Asif Jahangirov’s mobile number 050 210-27-44 on December 23 2015, at 15:46 and 17:30.” The judge also quoted the response letter as stating that Azercell Telekom LLC did not keep a log of missed calls.

Examination of the documents in the case file:

The presiding judge named the documents in the case file one by one. The judge said the documents included witness Asif Jahangirov’s letter of complaint to the Prosecutor General’s Office, his written statement provided to the Prosecutor’s Office, the decision to set up the operational group, photos and videos of the conduct of the operation, the court order to carry out the operation, AZN 100 banknotes bearing the word “bribe,” the protocol on personal search of Saday Shakarli, the protocol on interrogation of Asif Jahangirov, the protocol on search of Saday Shakarli’s house, the documents on lawyers Bahruz Bayramov and Fakhraddin Mehdiyev joining the case, and the collective appeal to the chief of the Anti-Corruption Department Kamran Bagirov requesting the release of Saday Shakarli.

At this point, lawyer Fakhraddin Mehdiyev asked the judge to name the persons who were present during the house search. He was particularly interested whether the defense counsel had been present. The judge replied that there wasn’t a defense counsel during the search of the house, only Saday Shakarli’s wife Amina Shakarova was present. The judge said the defense counsel was invited later. He added that there was an application in the case file, in which Saday Shakarli requested the appointment of a public defender for him due to his lack of financial means. Based on that application, lawyer Samir Abdullayev of the Legal Advice Office #11 was invited as the defense counsel. 

The presiding judge said the lawyers’ motions would be considered at the next hearing.

The next hearing will be held on May 5, 12.30pm.