September 29, Court of Appeal in Baku looked at the case of the journalist Khadija Ismayil vs. Elman Bayragdar (Hasanov).
In February, the Binagadi court found Khadija Ismayil guilty on the grounds of spreading misinformation about Bayragdar fining the journalist in the amount of 2500AZN.
In August, Elman Bayragdar said he would retract the complaint if Khadija reveals the source of the documents.
Today in Baku, the court dismissed the appeal said Khadija Ismayil’s lawyer Yalchin Imanov who spoke to AzadliqRadiosu after the hearing.
The lawyers raised a petition to conduct court proceedings. The judge dismissed the petition. The defense found the court’s decision totally baseless and illegal.
“Elman Hasanov claims Khadija Ismayil shared two documents implicating him. But there is only one text. It was shared on February 17, 2014 and all details including the person’s real name and last name were removed before publishing the document. And that had nothing to do with Elman Hasanov. The documents, which revealed Elman Hasanov’s cooperation with the Ministry of Security and the alleged rape case, were shared on Facebook by someone else [Mustafa Kozlu] and not by Khadija Ismayil”.
Khadija Ismayil requested that the Ministry of Security employee is invited into the court. "It is important for me to know who and when wrote the document. Because I am accused of sharing this document in February of 2014. However, I have actually removed the name of the person indicated in the document I shared on Facebook. When sharing the second document I actually wrote I was not sure whether the document was true. If the Ministry of National Security is actually engaged in this type of work then I am sorry for them. This a tragedy in the history of Azerbaijan's statehood. That, the state funded Ministry of National Security would film people, and then blackmail them and force them to work against the opposition", said Khadija Ismayil according to Meydan TV.
In his defense Elman Hasanov said the document was prepared by the head of the Popular Front Party Ali Karimli, Ganimat Zahid, Natig Adilov and Khadija Ismayil against him reported Meydan TV. Hasanov also accused Khadija Ismayil and Ali Karimli in the death of Elchibey.
Despite all the evidence being there the original fine remained in place. The lawyers intend to take the case next into the Supreme Court.
Khadija Ismayil’s mother, Elmira Ismayilova says the court decision didn’t surprise her at all.
Khadija Ismayil herself said it is important that the case is actually stalled as there are no witnesses and facts. "This is the downfall of Azerbaijan's judiciary", said Khadija according to Meydan TV. "Just imagine that the decision is made in the absence of the defendant, behind closed doors. Such nuisance never happened in Azerbaijan's court history". In his response the presiding judge Gail Mammadov said, "everthing is falling apart, while you are blossoming", to which Khadija Ismayil said, "I am not blossoming, but keeping my dignity. I wish you the same. I understand you are being pressured". The judge advised Khadija not to speak based on assumptions to which Khadija Ismayil said she was arrested on assumptions and her charges are all based on assumptions and in general, "In Azerbaijan justice is carried out based on assumptions and not facts".
On September 1, the Grave Crimes Court in Baku found Khadija Ismayil guilty on charges of tax evasion, abuse of power, illegal entrepreneurship, and appropriation sentencing the journalist to seven years and six months.