February 23, under the decision handed by the Binegedi District Court Judge Sedreddin Haciyev, investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova was found guilty based on the article 147.2 of the Criminal Code (slander). She was fined in the amount of 2,500Manat.
The ruling was made at the suit of Elman Hasanov [Turkoglu] a former opposition member who claimed the journalist slandered him in statements she posted on Facebook. Ismayilova denied the accusations saying she removed all the names. The trial began in Octover of 2014 and was closed to public and the press.
This is a separate case from Tural Mustafayev – the man who accused Ismayilova of inciting him to suicide last year.
The decision today was made in Khadija’s absence as she refused to return to the hearing after the break. The hearing was inside the Kurdakhani detention facility where Ismayilova is currently held. It was closed to public despite requests of journalists and activists to attend the trial.
Ismayilova's lawyer Elton Guliyev said the decision was illegal and unfair.
Ismayilova was arrested on December 5 and charged with “inciting to suicide” based on Article 125, Criminal Code. She was sentenced to two months in pretrial detention. On January 27, Sabail District Court ruled to keep Khadija Ismayil in jail for another two months.
In February, Khadija was presented with a series of new charges. Azerbaijan’s Prosecutor Office issued four additional charges – tax evasion, misuse of authority, appropriation and illegal entrepreneurship. Currently a number of arrested rights defenders, journalists and activists are facing similar offenses.