VIDADI ISGANDARLI`S APPEAL HEARING UNDERWAY

October 18th, 2011
Today, the Sheki Appeals Court held a preliminary hearing on the appeal of human rights defender Vidadi Isgandarli against the Goychay District Court’s  August 27th, 2011 ruling sentencing him to 3 years in prison. 

Judge Gadim Babayev presided over the hearing.
Isgandarli’s lawyer, Yalchin Imanov, reported to IRFS that the defendant’s side filed a motion requesting the court to change the prison sentence, terminate the criminal case, allow photographing, filming, and voice recording in the hearing, and to accompany the consideration of the appeal with a court investigation. Public prosecutor Vidadi Jabbarov responded that motions are ungrounded and unnecessary.
After a short deliberation, judge G.Babayev denied the motions and scheduled the hearing for 1 November.
BACKGROUND
Vidadi Isgandarov ran in the November 2010 parliamentary elections for the Goychay-Agdash #89 seat. According to the indictment, Isgandarov entered the election precinct #16 of Garabaglar village on voting day and obstructed voting procedure. He stole 16 damaged ballot papers from the commission head. A few hours later he committed similar actions in precinct #17 in Mirzahuseynli village and precinct #2 in the House of Culture in Goychay.
Isgandarov was detained at the April 17th protest organized by the Public Chamber opposition coalition. He was initially sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention, then to pre-trial detention when the criminal case was launched.
Vidadi Isgandarov has been charged under Article 159.3 and 160.1 of Criminal Code for obstructing the implementation of the right to vote and interfering or influencing the operation of election commissions. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to up to 3 years in jail.  On 27 August, 2011 Goychay District Court issued a decision to sentence human rights defender Vidadi Isgandarli to three years in jail.