Young Opposition Activist Fuad Ahmadli’s Trial Kicks Off

On 13 April, Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Fikrat Garibov commenced the preliminary hearing on the criminal case of Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) member Fuad Ahmadli.

At the hearing, Fuad Ahmadli’s personal information was verified. After that, the presiding judge asked Ahmadli whether he had received the indictment bill and other court documents. Fuad Ahmadli replied that he had received the documents on 10 April. Citing the legislative provision that prohibits the conduct of a preliminary hearing in less than one week after the accused is served with a notice about the trial date, the judge postponed the proceedings until 25 April, 10 am.

Kept inside an enclosed glass dock in the courtroom, Fuad Ahmadli told the journalists that he suffered from health problems and his detention conditions were normal. The youth activist said he did not accept the charges and was dissatisfied with the investigation, and ‘the plot has been poorly scripted’.

Fuad Ahmadli’s lawyer Asabali Mustafayev said his client’s act did not constitute a crime. “We have prepared several motions for the preliminary hearing. If the court is objective, this case should not be heard in the first place, and the criminal proceedings should be discontinued,” the lawyer said.

The lawyer added that Fuad Ahmadli had serious health problems. “Fuad Ahmadli already had health problems prior to his arrest. His problems have further worsened in detention. I have lodged a motion both to the court and to the investigative agency to arrange for a medical examination to obtain an opinion on whether he may be held in detention in this condition or not. The investigative agency and courts ignored the motions and medical notes that I presented. He has been repeatedly visited by representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, who have also confirmed that he has health issues,” Mustafayev noted.

APFP Chairman Ali Karimli, who had come to watch the hearing, said there was not a single court in Azerbaijan which dismissed trumped-up charges concocted by the prosecutor’s office. “Fuad Ahmadli has not committed any crime. He is a prisoner of conscience. He has demonstrated this during his time in detention. We, in turn, are going to defend him and all prisoners of conscience till the end,” Karimli said.

Background: Fuad Ahmadli was detained on 18 August 2016. Ahmadli’s detention term was last extended for three months on 3 March 2017.

Ahmadli is charged under Articles 302.1 (infringement of the legislation on operative-search activity) and 308.1 (abusing official powers) of the Criminal Code. According to the indictment, Fuad Ahmadli, an operator at the Call Centre of Azerfon LLC, channelled personal information of subscribers to certain people. The indictment mentions him as a supporter of Fetullah Gulen, the leader of a terrorist organisation. The indictment further reads that religious literature and CDs prohibited by law, speeches of Fetullah Gulen, and documents on his mutual relations with so-called “Hizmet (Service) imams” have been seized from his apartment during the search.

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