Victim’s Lie Exposed at Journalist’s Trial

On 6 April, Shirvan Court of Appeal chaired by Judge Alasgar Novruzov heard journalist Afgan Sadigov’s appeal against Jalilabad Regional Court’s judgment of 12 January 2017 which convicted him under Article 127.2.3 (deliberate infliction of a less serious bodily harm from hooligan motives) of the Criminal Code and sentenced him to 2.5 years in prison.

Journalist Afgan Sadigov testified at the hearing. He told the court that Aziz Azizov, head of Jalilabad Regional Executive Power, had repeatedly called him to his room, threatened or offered money so that he stopped writing about him and things taking place in the region, and warned that ‘otherwise you’ll be sorry’. However, he ignored Aziz Azizov’s offers and threats and continued with his articles. When passing by the executive power building on 9 August 2016, Sadigov was approached by the security guard who told him that deputy executive power head Sharbatov wanted to see him urgently. In the executive power building, Sharbatov told him that Aziz Azizov wanted to see him and took him to Azizov’s room. Azizov again admonished the journalist and threatened that it would not end well for him. When leaving the executive power head’s room, he was approached by a woman who asked him why he was writing articles about officials and began swearing at him. Seeing through the provocation, Afgan Sadigov walked away from the executive power building. After that, he was called to the police office, where he was told that they would do nothing to him if he stopped writing about the executive power head and Jalilabad region. As Afgan Sadigov continued with his articles, this criminal case was launched against him and he was sued. Sadigov said he had never even used an unethical word against any woman, including the woman recognised as the ‘victim’, because it was contrary to his morals and family education.

After that, Aliya Rzayeva, the woman recognised as a victim, gave testimony. At the beginning of her testimony, she said how she loved all officials very much and was ready to sacrifice herself for them, and noted that Afgan Sadigov ‘writes whatever comes into his head about them’. Rzayeva said the violated rights of her and her family had been remedied thanks to the officials.

While answering the lawyer’s question, Rzayeva said she had secondary education, was illiterate in Latin script, did not know where she had obtained her journalistic ID, and were unemployed. Rzayeva added that she had lost consciousness after Afgan Sadigov hit her at around 10 am on 9 August 2016, was admitted to the hospital in the unconscious state, recovered her consciousness after a week, and signed the documents presented to her.

However, referring to the expert opinion and the in-patient registration book, lawyer Elchin Sadigov said Rzayeva entered Jalilabad Central Regional Hospital not at around 10 am but at 3.30 pm, 5 hours after the incident, without any accompaniment, and complained of headaches.

The next hearing was set for 27 April 2017.

Background: Afgan Sadigov, the founder and chief editor of news website based in the southern part of the country, was detained on 22 November 2016. He was charged under Article 127.2.3 (deliberate infliction of minor serious harm to health in a publicly dangerous way or from hooligan prompting) of the Criminal Code.

The charges stem from an incident involving him and a woman that occurred in the regional executive power building in August 2016. The indictment bill alleged that the journalist had injured the woman. The journalist and his lawyer called the charges spurious during the trial. The lawyer’s motion to obtain the footages of the security cameras in the executive power building, where the incident took place, had been rejected by the court.

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