[IRPCoalition] Summary: All hearings/ Appeals Court upholds verdict against Khadija Ismayilova

Anriette Esterhuysen anriette at apc.org
Mon Nov 30 16:21:00 EET 2015

This is really depressing reading. Update on Khadija who was part of
civil society at the Baku IGF in 2012.

One of the many local activists or journalists whose conditions have
only deteriorated since then.


*Appeals Court upholds verdict against Khadija Ismayilova*

*Summary: Last hearing (November 25)*

·      At the hearing, defense counsel Fariz Namazli submitted a motion
requesting that Khadija Ismayilova sit next to her lawyers;

·      At the hearing, defense lawyers made speeches in which they asked
for Ismayilova’s acquittal;

·      Khadija Ismayilova made a speech explicitly linking her arrest to
her work as a journalist;

·      The public prosecutor asked the court to uphold the judgment of
the first instance court;

·      The Court of Appeal upheld the decision of Baku Grave Crimes Court.

On November 25, the Baku Court of Appeal, chaired by the judge Ilgar
Murguzov, held a hearing on the case of journalist Khadija Ismayilova.

*/Defense counsel’s motion: /*

At the court hearing, defense counsel Fariz Namazli made a verbal motion
for Khadija Ismayil to be seated next to her lawyers, to allow her to
consult with them freely. The state prosecutor asked for the motion to
be dismissed. The presiding judge rejected the motion, citing concerns
for Khadija Ismayil's safety.

Khadija Ismayilova said she wanted to consult with her lawyers. The
presiding judge announced a 10-minute break, during which the defense
counsels entered the glass-encased cage. Khadija Ismayilova's
conversation with her lawyers took place in the presence of bailiffs.

*/Khadija Ismayilova's addendum to the appellate complaint/*

Khadija Ismayilova submitted an addendum to the appellate complaint:
"The Baku Grave Crimes Court's decision states that I do not have any
property. I have decided to voluntarily provide information about the
property to be confiscated: a 5-storey building in London. All the
apartments on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th floors of that building are
rented for 9 years by 4 companies registered in Virgin Islands. Due to
the fact that property tax for foreign nationals is extremely high in
that country, they were not purchased, but rented…”

Ismayilova was referring to properties rented out by Leyla Aliyeva,
daughter of the President. The judge turned off Khadija Ismayilova's
microphone, cutting her off.

*/Defense counsels' speech/*

Defense counsel Fariz Namazli spoke first.

 "It is not right to conduct the proceedings without a judicial
investigation. During the preliminary hearing, we filed motions to
conduct the proceeding through partial investigation, to examine the
evidence that we presented to the court, but the evidence was  not
examined. I want to speak about the charges. According to the charge
brought under Article 179.3.2 of the Criminal Code, Khadija Ismayilova
arranged for a number of individuals, cooperating with Azadliq Radio
under service contracts, register as payers of simplified tax instead of
income tax, thereby profiting from the 10% difference between simplified
tax and income tax, i.e. a total of 17,992.60 AZN. First of all, Khadija
Ismayilova has not signed contracts with any of the individuals
mentioned in the indictment: Hamidov Shamsaddin Rauf oglu, Babayeva
Gulnara Rafig gizi, Javadova Esmira Turab gizi, Mammadov Mustajab
Mutallim oglu, Nasibova Malahat Ibrahim gizi, Sadigova Gular Miryahya
gizi, Hasanov Samir Mammadali oglu, Zeynalov Eldar Tahir oglu, Nasibov
Ilgar Elbay oglu, Mammadli Rafig Humbat oglu and the founder and chief
editor of the "Fergli Dushunje" (Different Way of Thinking) magazine
Namazov Shahvalad Abutalib oglu. The case materials do not include
contracts signed between Khadija Ismayilova and those individuals.”

Namazli said that the contracts that the defense had presented to the
court of first instance - which the court had refused to examine -
showed that Javadova Esmira Turab gizi signed her contract with Radio
Free Europe/Radio Liberty Corporation employee Elizabeth Portale, and
Namazov Shahvalad Abutalib oglu had signed his contract with the
official representative of the radio's representative office, Yahya

According to the lawyer, the fact that an individual entrepreneur
establishes working relationships with any enterprise or employer on the
basis of a service contract rather than an employment contract is not
contrary to the existing legislation, and there is no legal provision
that prohibits this practice. Forcing the representative office to pay
income tax constitutes a gross violation of the right to free enterprise
provided by the Constitution of Azerbaijan Republic.

“Shahvalad Namazov has registered as a physical person and obtained a
TIN from the tax authorities. Radio Azadliq transferred funds to his
personal account, not to the account of the magazine, which had a legal
entity status. Unfortunately, the court demonstrated its poor
understanding of the Law of Azerbaijan Republic on Mass Media, and, in
general, a failure to grasp how radio stations, magazines and editorial
offices are regulated. According to Article 14 of the Law on Mass Media,
permission from state authorities is not required to establish a print
publication. Any legal entity or physical person who wants to establish
a print publication is obliged to apply to the relevant executive
authority, the Ministry of Justice, 7 days prior to printing the
publication. In his testimony provided in court, Shahvalad Chobanoglu
stated that he had made such an application to the Ministry of Justice,”
the lawyer added.

Fariz Namazli stressed that even if there had been a violation of the
law - such as a failure to sign an employment contract - Azerbaijani
legislation stipulates a special responsibility for such action.

He added that the Articles 179.3.2 and 308.2 – under which their client
is being charged – refer to a specific person, i.e. the office holder.
But Khadija Ismayilova was not responsible for finances; in other words,
she was not an office holder. She was not responsible for finances while
she was the head of Baku Bureau of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. She
coordinated production activity on the instructions of the management,
and was exclusively engaged in production and programming work. She was
not entrusted with any property or financial obligations.

“In her testimony as the accused, Khadija Ismayilova noted that her
employment contract does not include any clause assigning financial or
administrative authority. Besides, the motion filed with the court to
add the contracts signed with Javadova Esmira Turab gizi and Namazov
Shahvalad Abutalib oglu to the case file and to examine them was
rejected without any legal justification. But those contracts once again
confirmed that they were not signed by Khadija Ismayilova. Article
192.2.2 of the Criminal Code deals with illegal entrepreneurship
committed by making a large amount of income. RFE/RL Inc. is a
non-profit company funded by US Congress and has not engaged in any
business activity since its establishment. The information on the
Radio's website says that Radio Liberty is a non-commercial organization
funded by the US Congress. Radio Liberty's mission is to support
democratic values and institutions by disseminating news and ideas.
Entrepreneurship is a completely different concept and its features have
been described in various legislative acts,” emphasized Namazli.

The lawyer also noted that under the 30 December 2008 decision of the
National Television and Radio Council, the FM frequency given to Radio
Azadliq was revoked on 1 January 2009. At this point, Radio Azadliq
ceased its FM broadcasts.

Namazli said that obtaining or extending a license was part of the job
description of the head of the Baku Bureau, and therefore, the charges
against Khadija Ismayilova in this regard are biased and unfair.

“As to charges concerning the failure to gain accreditation with the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Republic, we would like to
note that in 2010-2014 Khadija Ismayilova cooperated with Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty on the basis of a service contract and was not an
employee of that radio station or any foreign or local media outlet. She
operated as an independent journalist selling her investigative stories
to a number of media outlets, including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
There is no basis on which the tax evasion charge can be brought against
Khadija Ismayilova as the head of the Baku Bureau, because, as noted
above, the head of the Baku Bureau did not have administrative or
financial authority. Therefore she was not liable for payment of taxes
and social payments. Based on the foregoing, we request that Khadija
Ismayilova be acquitted,” concluded Fariz Namazli.

After that, lawyer Javad Javadov gave his speech. “At the Baku Grave
Crimes Court, we presented the decision on the case "ANS versus Ministry
of Taxes" as legal precedent. In that case, the signing of service
contracts instead of employment contracts with employees was considered
illegal by the Ministry of Taxes. However, all court instances
considered the Tax Ministry's claim unfounded and ruled that the Tax
Ministry's decision was contrary to Article 300 of the Civil Code.
However, the Grave Crimes Court did not accept that decision. The court
of first instance has not conducted a fair investigation. We do not
believe either that it would be conducted fairly here,” Javad Javadov said.

Next, lawyer Fakhraddin Mehdiyev made a speech. “Initially, the criminal
case was launched under Article 125. After Tural Mustafayev said that he
had filed the complaint under duress, the investigating authority saw
that continuing this case could lead to serious consequences. Therefore,
charges related to economic offenses were added. The investigating
authority committed serious violations. In order for Article 179 to be
relevant there must be a victim, but in this case, there is no victim.
There is no victim and no damage. At the court of first instance we
filed 35 motions, none of which were granted. Nor have our motions in
this court been granted. This proves that the case is biased. The Grave
Crimes Court violated Khadija Ismayilova’s right to a fair trial
provided for in the European Convention. The court's decision is a
serious blemish on Azerbaijan's image. This will lead the judges of
European Human Rights Court to make a decision that will be a shock for

*/Khadija Ismayilova’s speech/*

After that, Khadija Ismayilova made a speech: “You do not have the
tolerance to listen to free speech. Whoever is in control of the
microphone turns it off whenever he wants. This country is ruled by mob law.

/(At this point, the judge turned off the microphone again)./

At the court of first instance, I requested that the head of the
Anti-Terror Department of the Ministry of National Security, Ilgar
Aliyev be interrogated. He directly supervised my case.

/(At this point, the judge turned off the microphone again)/.

You are too old to play with buttons. I am talking on the charges. I was
not the head of Azerbaijani Bureau of Radio Liberty. I was the head of
Baku Bureau. The charges should have been brought against the
Azerbaijani representation, not against me. This is the US Secretary of
State John Kerry. Ask him whatever questions you have. I am also charged
with failing to gain accreditation. You gain accreditation in order to
be able to attend state events. But I was never invited [to state
events], because they knew that I would ask them difficult questions. If
they do not let me attend the events held in the country, why should I
go and obtain accreditation? The prosecutor's office has written a
16-ton indictment, which does not include a single fact. /(Laughing)/
And yes, I should also say that the property in London, which I
mentioned at the beginning of my speech, is not in my name, but in Leyla

(/At this point, the judge turned off the microphone again and cut off
Khadija Ismayil’s speech/).

After this, the public prosecutor made a speech and requested that the
verdict of the first instance court be upheld.

The Court of Appeal ruled to uphold the Baku Grave Crimes Court verdict
of 1 September 2015.

Background: Khadija Ismayil was arrested on 5 December 2014. She was
initially charged under article 125 of the Criminal Code (driving to
suicide). Later, she faced new charges under articles 179
(misappropriation), 192.2 (illegal entrepreneurship), 213.2 (tax
evasion) and 308.2 (abuse of official powers). On September 1, the court
acquitted Khadija Ismayil of the charge filed under Article 125 of the
Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic (incitment to suicide). However,
the court found her guilty under Articles 179.3.2 (misappropriation and
waste on a large scale), 192.2.2 (illegal entrepreneurship), 213.1 (tax
evasion) and 308.2 (abuse of official powers) and sentenced her to 7.5
years in jail and a 3-year ban from holding certain positions or
engaging in certain activities.  Amnesty International has recognized
Khadija Ismayil as a prisoner of conscience.

*Dispatches from Khadija Ismayilova’s trial*

*Khadija Ismayilova’s trial: court orders alleged victim Tural
Mustafayev to attend*

_Summary: Hearing 2 (7 __August 2015)_

·               Tural Mustafayev, officially deemed a victim in the
case, did not attend the hearing; consequently the court issued an order
requiring his presence;

·               The public prosecutor announced the final part of the
indictment against Khadija Ismayilova, who stated that the charges were
unclear to her;

·               Ismayilova testified, and rejected the charges. She told
the court that she had never held any administrative authority at Radio
Azadliq (Radio Liberty’s Azerbaijani Service);

·               A witness for the prosecution, Aynur Imranova, was
questioned and told the court that Ismayilova was innocent and that
Tural Mustafayev suffered from mental health issues. She also stated
that she had been pressured by investigators to incriminate Ismayilova
in her statement;

·               Tural Mustafayev’s ex-fiancée, lawyer Rovshana Rahimli

·               The former head of Radio Liberty’s Baku Office, Babak
Bakir, told the court that neither he nor Ismayilova had dealt with
contractual or financial matters, and these issues were managed by the
Prague headquarters of Radio Liberty.

On 7 August, the Baku Court of Grave Crimes heard the case of journalist
Khadija Ismayilova. Judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva presided over the hearing.

Although a large crowd of people arrived to see the journalist’s trial,
the courtroom was filled with people who had no obvious interest in the
trial or its participants, while others were denied entry. Only
representatives of the US, German and French embassies were allowed in.
Ismayilova filed a motion to allow members of the public and journalists
to enter the courtroom, aimed at upholding the principle of judicial
openness. However, her motion was denied. The defence lawyers, in turn,
objected to the composition of the court on the grounds that (1)
Ismayilova’s motion had been rejected and (2) that the court required
that the witnesses be questioned before the alleged victim. However,
this motion was also rejected.

_Defence motions_

The defence filed a motion to allow the journalist to sit next to her
lawyers, but this was denied, on the grounds that Ismayilova was being
held inside the glass cage for her own safety.

A second defence motion addressed the issue of financial authority and
liability. Because the Radio Liberty Azerbaijani service (RL) had an
account with the Azerbaijan International Bank (AIB), argued the
defence, an inquiry must be sent to the AIB to establish whether they
had held Ismayilova’s sample signature as the head of RL’s Baku Bureau,
and/or payment orders bearing her signature intended for the conduct of
financial operations.

The lawyers filed another motion requesting the court to add the
decisions on opening and suspending the tax inspection in RL’s Baku
Office to the case file.

The motions were denied.

_Announcement of the indictment_

Public prosecutor Ramazan Hadiyev announced the concluding section of
the indictment. He noted that after finding out that Tural Mustafayev
was engaged to another woman and despite knowing that he had attempted
suicide, Ismayilova prevented him from gaining employment at RFE/RL’s
Azerbaijani service in order to render him financially dependent on her,
thereby humiliating his dignity.

The prosecutor also stated that from 1 July 2008 until 1 January 2009,
Ismayilova hired employees for RL’s Baku Office, acts which due to RL’s
unlicensed status, constituted illegal entrepreneurship (generating
335,880 AZN in revenue). Ismayilova was also alleged to have evaded
45,145 AZN in taxes. The public prosecutor added that there was
sufficient evidence that she had committed these crimes.

_Khadija Ismayilova’s testimony_

Ismayilova argued that the charges brought against her were groundless.
“While I was at Radio Azadliq, I did not employ anyone or sign any
contract. I was responsible only for the broadcast programmes and
quality control of published articles. Employment contracts were signed
by the Prague office. As for Tural Mustafayev, I had no relationship
with him at all”.

_Prosecution witnesses_

The first witness to take the stand was journalist Aynur Imranova. She
told the court that she had been interviewed extensively by
investigators, and requested the court to ask specific questions.

Prosecutor: Did you have any contact with Radio Azadliq? How long have
you known Khadija? How do you know her? Which of Khadija Ismayilova’s
programmes have you been involved in? Have you applied to Radio Azadliq
to work as a journalist? Why did you want to work there? Were you a
taxpayer? Until when were you friends with Khadija Ismayilova? Have you
collaborated on any projects? How do you know Tural Mustafayev and since
when? Were you together with Tural Mustafayev’s fiancée Rovshana
Rahimova on 9 March 2014? What do you know about Khadija’s relationship
with Tural Mustafayev? Do you have any information about Tural
Mustafayev’s attempted suicide?

Aynur Imranova: I did not have contact with Radio Azadliq. I have known
Khadija since 2012. I participated in several of her programmes as well
as in other presenters’ programmes. I have not worked for Radio Azadliq.
I applied once and Khadija told me that she did not handle recruitment,
as she was not authorised. The reason I wanted to work for Radio Azadliq
was because I thought my articles were similar to their style. Yes, I
have been a taxpayer for quite a long time. Khadija and I have not met
since May 2014 due to personal problems. I have developed a project on
capacity-building of investigative journalists, and Khadija voluntarily
assisted me in translating my project. Khadija’s investigations are well
known in many parts of the world. I have known Tural Mustafayev since
2013; we met when Khadija was returning from abroad. I met Rovshana
Rahimli on 9 March 2014 in a café. Tural attempted suicide because he
quarrelled with Rovshana Rahimli several times. I have been questioned
by five people at the investigative agency. I have no information about
the relationship between Khadija and Tural. Tural is an alcoholic who is
mentally ill. He used to beat Rovshana Rahimli. Once Tural tried to hang
himself but he failed; he took a photo of this, which he shared via MMS
with friends. The investigators took my statement under pressure. They
offered me an apartment, money, and so on if I would testify against

The former head of RL’s Baku Bureau, Babak Bakir, was next to testify.
He told the court that he had cooperated with Radio Azadliq since 1997,
and that in 2005 he became a full-time employee. “From 2010 till 2014, I
worked as a coordinator, which is essentially the acting head. But
recruitment and salaries were both determined by the Prague office.
Yahya Mirzayev was in charge of dealing with documentation. Khadija and
I were not involved in it. I had an account with Azerbaijan
International Bank. I worked based on an employment contract and paid
all relevant taxes. Our employees were accredited by the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs. I know Tural Mustafayev. He wanted to work for RL, and
I employed him. He was not a staffer. Once he wrote me an e-mail saying
that he was tired and wanted to leave his job and wanted to give up
journalism for awhile. But later, he worked for Meydan TV. After
quitting his job there, he applied to work with us again, but we did not
have any vacancies. The head of the RL’s Baku Bureau was not entitled to
be involved with financial matters. After leaving the position of the
Bureau head, I worked as a correspondent, and the coordinator was Zeynal
Mammadli. Khadija Ismayilova did not express any opinion on Tural

Hakim Ahmadov, who works as a security guard on Baku Boulevard, also
testified. He said that he did not know Khadija. “Citizens reported an
incident, and I called an ambulance. None of his relatives or friends
were present, until one person came. The man was conscious and able to
talk. Then the ambulance arrived and took him”, said the witness.

The court scheduled the next hearing for 10 August at 11.00am.

Three journalists attempting to film the hearing from outside were taken
to the police office, but were later released. After the hearing,
journalists who wanted to interview the hearing participants were
attacked. The assailants tried to smash their cameras and the police
officer guarding the court failed to intervene. A journalist who tried
to take refuge inside the court building was forced out by the police

/Background:/ Khadija Ismayilova was arrested on 5 December 2014. She
was initially charged under article 125 of the Criminal Code (incitement
to suicide). Later, she faced new charges under articles 179.3.2
(misappropriation - on a large scale); 192.2.2 (implementation of
illegal business activity - with extraction of income in a large
amount); 213 (evasion of payment of taxes or other obligatory payments
of a significant amount); and 308.2 (abuse of official powers -
entailing heavy consequences or committed to influence the outcome of an
election or referendum). Amnesty International has recognised Ismayilova
as a prisoner of conscience.

*Journalists attacked after Khadija Ismayilova’s trial*

On 7 August, the Baku Court of Grave Crimes held a hearing in the case
of journalist Khadija Ismayilova. Numerous journalists and activists
arrived to attend the hearing, but were not allowed in. The court guards
only allowed representatives of foreign missions (the US, German, and
French embassies) to enter the courtroom. The court officers said that
the courtroom was full and no empty seats were left. Journalist Orkhan
Rustemzade, who was filming in front of the courthous, was taken to
Police Station #22. He was released after two hours, after giving a

After the hearing was over, Voice of America radio journalist Tapdig
Farhadoglu asked those leaving the court building whether Ismayilova had
attended the hearing. The situation escalated when he asked an elderly
man, who said he had attended the hearing, whether he was related to
Ismayilova. Farhadoglu was then assaulted by two women and a man. Meydan
TV journalists Izolda Agayeva and Aytaj Ahmadova, filming together with
Radio Liberty reporter Islam Shikhali, also faced violence; an elderly
woman took a glass bottle from a bin and attempted to hit Aytaj
Ahmadova. Fortunately Ahmadova’s colleagues intercepted the blow, but
another woman did manage to hit Ahmadova with her bag. A man attacked
and tried to assault Shikhali, but he managed to escape.

Meanwhile, one of the women threw her shoe at Tapdig Farhadoglu, who
tried to seek refuge in the court building, but the court guards and
police forced him back out towards the waiting crowd. A young man came
from a distance and hit Farhadoglu. Police officers present at the scene
failed to intervene and protect members of the press from this outbreak
of violence. The police and assailants told Farhadoglu to refrain from
“causing provocations”.

*Khadija Ismayilova’s trial: Alleged victim Tural Mustafayev admits to
slandering Ismayilova during the investigation*

_Summary: Hearing 3 (10 August 2015)_

·               Tural Mustafayev, the alleged victim in Khadija
Ismayilova's case, testified that it was he who had slandered
Ismayilova, and he had suffered no emotional damage and had no claims
against her;

·               Mustafayev's mother and father, who were questioned as
prosecution witnesses, stated they had no claims against Khadija;

·               Prosecution witness Rovshana Rahimli told the court that
Mustafayev (her former fiancé) was mentally ill, physically abusive
towards her, and that each time they had split up, he had attempted

·               The defence’s motions to include Mustafayev's interview
in the evidence list and to revoke his victim status were denied;

·               Prosecution witness Shahvalad Chobanoglu testified,
stating that Khadija herself was the victim of a crime.

On 10 August, the Baku Court of Grave Crimes resumed the hearing in the
case against journalist Khadija Ismayilova. Judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva
presided over the hearing.

Although numerous people wanted to attend the trial, the courtroom had
been filled in advance with people unrelated to the trial, and so many
of those seeking to attend were denied entry. Only the representatives
of the US, German and French embassies were permitted to observe.

_Defence motions_

The defence filed a motion requesting that the media interviews of Tural
Mustafayev, recognised as a victim by the prosecution, be included in
the evidence list. In those interviews, Mustafayev said that law
enforcement agencies had blackmailed several people with secretly
recorded videos in order to compel them to give statements incriminating

With regard to the lawyer's motion, Ismayilova said, "Tural Mustafayev's
first statement against me was written on 25 November, but the
prosecutor's office had obtained the court warrant to listen to my phone
conversation a month earlier, on 28 October. Did the prosecutor's office
receive some kind of revelation or glean news of the future from
extra-terrestrials in order to know that Tural would file such a
complaint, enabling them to obtain the warrant in advance?”

The lawyer also requested that Mustafayev's victim status be dismissed;
however both motions were denied.

_Tural Mustafayev’s testimony_

Mustafayev testified that his suicide attempt on 20 October 2014 was
unrelated to Ismayilova. "I got to know Khadija Ismayilova in October
2013, and our relationship was purely professional. Neither my
employment at Radio Azadliq, nor my decision to leave, nor my
cooperation with Meydan TV bears any relation to Ismayilova. The
documentation regarding my treatment at a psychiatric patient in
Mashtaga [settlement] is in the case file. Due to my poor mental health
I attempted suicide three times in 2014”.

However, due to the contradiction between the statement Mustafayev gave
in court and his prior statement, the court read out the statement he
had provided during the investigation.

When the court asked for an explanation for this contradiction,
Mustafayev said he had slandered Ismayilova in the testimony he provided
to the investigators. "I had no dependence on Khadija in any way. She
played no role in my dismissal from my job, or my drinking the rat
poison. I do not consider myself a victim", said Mustafayev.

_Prosecution witnesses_

Mustafayev's mother, Nazakat Mustafayeva, who had been interrogated by
investigators as a witness, was also questioned. She said that she lives
in Goychay. Her son came to Baku in late 2013, but she was unaware of
his job or the persons with whom he was involved. However, in her
initial testimony to investigators, she confirmed her son's statement
and requested that Ismayilova be held to account for driving her son to
attempt suicide.

The next prosecution witness, Mustafayev's ex-fiancée Rovshana Rahimli,
told the court that Mustafayev had attempted to take his own life three
times, and that none of these incidents had been related to Ismayilova.
She requested that the court consider her court testimony as valid,
because her testimony to the investigators had been distorted.

“I met Tural on 8 March 2014 at a holiday party and we got engaged on 28
May. He suffered from mental health issues. While we were together, he
attempted suicide three times. Tural repeatedly insulted and physically
assaulted me when he was drunk, but then he would promise to behave and
we would reconcile. On 15 October, we had a big argument, leading me to
file a police complaint on 16 October. After drinking rat poison on the
Boulevard on 20 October, Tural Mustafayev wrote a text message to my
friend Samira Agayeva saying that he did not want to live without me.
After the suicide attempt, he was first taken to Semashko [hospital] and
kept there for one day, before being transferred to the mental health
unit. We consulted a doctor while we were together, and he was diagnosed
as a psychopath, meaning that his condition is impossible to treat”,
Rahimli told the court.

Mustafayev's father also testified as a witness. "I had already said to
investigators that we did not suspect anyone. Then we went to Rovshana's
house and she said that it might have been done by Khadija Ismayilova
and I was convinced. I do not have a complaint against anyone. Rovshana
Rahimli told me that Tural lost his job and could not find a new one
because of Khadija", he said. But when Ismayilova asked him, "Do you
consider me guilty in your son's suicide?", he replied, "I do not blame
anyone at all".

When the judge asked about the discrepancies between his initial
testimony and his statement in court, he replied that he had simply
repeated what he had heard from Rahimli to the investigators.

Samira Agayeva also confirmed in her testimony that Mustafayev had
psychological problems. "Before his suicide attempt, I met him in the
city and he said that he had been drinking for a week and did not want
to live. And an hour later, I received a text message that read "Tell
Roshka that I did what she had told me..."

Mustafayev's ex-wife Shafa Mustafayeva said they were divorced on 8 May
2014 and have two children, and that Mustafayev had gotten engaged to
Rovshana after the divorce. "I heard from his family that he was
unemployed and had lost his mind. I did not face any pressure from the
investigators", said Mustafayeva.

Another witness for the prosecution, Matanat Abdinova, who worked as a
cleaner for Radio Azadliq, said she was hired in 2008 and signed a
service contract with Mr. Yahya. "I did not sign a contract with
Khadija. She only gave me instructions related to cleaning. I discussed
all my job-related issues with Mr. Yahya. My salary was transferred to
my bank account, and I paid all the required taxes".

According to witness Gulnaz Guliyeva, she was hired as a translator for
Radio Azadliq by Ismayilova. "I was not a permanent employee. I worked
with a TIN. I had a bank account, which is now closed".

Shahvalad Chobanoglu testified that he had first been questioned in
December 2014, but the interrogation was not directly related to
Ismayilova, because the charges against her were only brought in
February 2015. "Khadija herself is the victim of a crime. I have been a
taxpayer since 2006. Khadija Ismayilova was not involved in my work. I
was the editor and founder of the ‘Different Opinion’ magazine, which
was registered with the Ministry of Justice. All related funds were
transferred to my bank account and I paid four per cent as tax".

Next, a former employee of Radio Azadliq, Chingiz Sultansoy, testified.
"When I was summoned for interrogation, I requested a lawyer, but the
authorities told me that the lawyer could come later. Nonetheless, I
refused to provide a testimony. Then I was questioned for three hours.
They asked numerous questions. I told them that I had signed my
employment contract with the [RFE/RL] head office, and showed them my
contract. I said that I had been hired by Kenan Aliyev, and that my
salary bore no relation to Khadija Ismayilova", the journalist told the

*Khadija Ismayilova’s trial: The court finishes questioning prosecution

Summary: Hearing 6(13 August 2015)

·               The court denied a series of motions filed by the
defence regarding some details that would prove important for the case
and ensure its objective investigation;

·               Radio Azadliq employee Ulker Guliyeva, who had been
questioned by the prosecution, testified and answered questions related
to the radio;

·               The court announced the witness statement of Radio
Azadliq technical maintenance worker Farid Abdullayev, who had been
interrogated by the prosecution;

·               Khadija Ismayilova and her lawyers objected to the rapid
pace of the trial, but the court did not take the objection into account.

On 13 August, the third successive hearing was held in the case of
journalist Khadija Ismayilova in the Baku Court of Grave Crimes. Judge
Ramella Allahverdiyeva presided over the hearing.

As in previous days, only representatives of a few embassies and
government media outlets were allowed to enter the courtroom.

_Defence motions_

The defence requested that Shahla Humbatova be questioned as a witness
in relation to the suicide attempt of Tural Mustafayev, who was
considered a victim by the court. The motion was rejected.

lawyer Fariz Namazli also stressed the importance of further
investigation of the claims that Mustafayev had been fired from Meydan
TV at Ismayilova’s insistence. The lawyer said they had sent an inquiry
to Meydan TV in this regard and received a response, and they wanted
this response to be included in the evidence list, but the judge refused
to do so, because, according to her, the source of the response was

The defence then requested the inclusion in the evidence list of Tural
Mustafayev’s email correspondence with the head of Radio Liberty’s Baku
Bureau, Babak Bakir, about his intention to quit his job at Radio
Azadliq. However, this motion was similarly dismissed.

The defence filed a motion to summon Adil Ismayilov, a representative of
Radio Azadliq, to the trial, but the judge also denied this motion.

“At least, don’t make it so clear that you’ve closed the radio station
because of me. You closed down the radio station to arrest me, because
you needed to arrest me after searching the radio station, but you did
the opposite”, Ismayilova said.

Lawyer Fariz Namazli noted that during his testimony as a victim, Tural
Mustafayev stated that he had not voluntarily presented his personal
Facebook correspondence to the prosecutor’s office. Therefore, the
lawyer requested that this correspondence be removed from the evidence
list, but the motion was denied.

Namazli also requested that relevant structures of the Ministry of
Communications and Information Technologies and representatives of the
National Television and Radio Council be summoned to court as additional
witnesses in connection with the issue of the radio station’s broadcast.
However, this motion was rejected too.

The lawyers and Ismayilova protested the rapid pace at which the trial
was being held, and requested more time, but the judge did not take
their request into account.

Ismayilova objected to the judge. “You say a 15-year sentence awaits me.
I am ready to be jailed even for 25 years. At least I would spend a
small part of it here, in the courtroom, striving and fighting for my
rights. To ensure my rights. I understand that you’ve been given an
order with regard to me. You already know what sentence you’ll give me.
Maybe you even feel remorse for coming and seeing me here every day.
But, give me an opportunity to defend my rights”, said Ismayilova.

_Prosecution witnesses _

Radio Azadliq employee Ulker Guliyeva, a witness for the prosecution,
gave her testimony. She was asked about the radio station’s activities
and the difference between full-time employees and contract workers.
Ulker Guliyev said she had been working for the radio station since 2005
and received her salary in her International Bank account and then via a
plastic card. She told the court that there was no significant
difference between full-time employees and contract workers.

Radio Azadliq’s technical maintenance worker Farid Abdullayev was then
due to testify, but as he was not present, his investigation statement
was read. In his statement, he had noted that he worked based on a
service contract and paid all required taxes. He had added that he had
once seen another Radio Azadliq employee, Javanshir Agamaliyev, receive
a few thousand AZN in addition to his salary in his bank account, and
withdraw the money from his account.

Ismayilova objected to this statement, saying that Farid Abdullayev’s
statement had changed and he must come to court. The court said this
issue would be assessed at the end.

Thus, the questioning of prosecution witnesses was completed and the
next hearing was set for 14 August at 15.00.

*Defence motions repeatedly rejected *

_Summary: Hearing 7 (14 August 2015)_

·      Khadija Ismayilova objected to the presiding judge and the court
clerk, but her objections were dismissed;

·      Defence lawyers filed a number of key motions, but all were
denied by the court.

Journalist Khadija Ismayilova’s trial continued at the Baku Court of
Grave Crimes on 14 August. Judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva presided over
the hearing.

It was another semi-closed hearing. As in previous hearings, employees
of the APA, Virtualaz.org and Telegraph news agencies were allowed to
enter the courtroom in advance. While representatives of the US, German,
French, and Norwegian embassies, Ismayilova’s family members, and an
Azadliq newspaper reporter were let in through the second door,
representatives from the UK embassy and Human Rights Watch were denied
entry. Many journalists and members of the public were also prevented
from attending denied entry. Numerous police officers and non-uniformed
Ministry of National Security (MNS) officers were waiting near the court

The seats in the courtroom were again filled with outsiders,
non-uniformed court staff, and MNS employees.

_Defendant’s objections_

As soon as the hearing started, Ismayilova presented an objection to the
presiding judge, which stated:

“Referring to Article 109.1.8 of the Criminal Procedure Code of (CPC)
Azerbaijan Republic, I object to Judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva,
considering the fact that she has demonstrated bias throughout the court
proceedings. This motion is based on the following circumstances:

1) The presiding judge has violated the principle of the equality of
parties. The defendant, in breach of the law, was not been provided with
copies of the criminal case documents during the investigation, and was
given only a small part of the required documents after filing a motion
with the court. The decision to deny a second motion was justified on
the grounds that ‘those [which have been] presented are enough’. Thus,
the judge ignored a violation of Article 285 of the CPC and demonstrated
her interest in the unequal status of the defence in the criminal
prosecution. The decision of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of
Azerbaijan Republic ‘On the Application of the Provisions of the
European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms and the Case-law of the European Court of Human Rights in the
Administration of Justice’ of 30 May 2006 was also violated as a result
of these actions.

2) Judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva threatened the defendant at a court
hearing, saying that a 15-year jail sentence awaited her. This threat
was not voiced in the context of interpreting the legislation or the
totality of the crimes. The judge said it in response to the defendant’s
criticisms and insistence that she would answer questions only at a
public hearing.

3) Judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva refused to include in the case file the
documents refuting charges that had been presented by witnesses, namely
the [employment/service] contracts presented to the court by Shahvalad
Namazov and Chingiz Sultanov. Instead, she returned the documents to the

4) None of the defence’s motions were granted.

5) The defence motion filed on 13 August 2015, which requested
questioning of witnesses, was rejected. Namely, the motions that
requested questioning of witness Humbatova Shahla Knyaz gizi and
representatives of the Ministry of Communications and Information
Technologies were denined, although the motions stated that the
questioning of those witnesses was of great importance in uncovering the
truth. Those witnesses possess first-hand information regarding the
allegations made in the indictment. In addition, the defence motion for
the questioning of the representative of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
(RFE/RL) was also rejected. The court agreed with the prosecutors’
objections that the charges were against Khadija Ismayilova, not Radio
Liberty, although RFE/RL is often mentioned in the indictment and their
documents are cited, and the charges are related to Khadija Ismayilova’s
activities in this organisation.

6) The judge refused to include in the case file Tural Mustafayev’s
interview with Azadliq newspaper of 4 August 2015, and his video message
published on YouTube on 3 May 2015, deeming them ‘questionable’
evidence, although the motion to include the YouTube message in the case
file was also filed by the victim Mustafayev himself. During his
questioning [in court], Mustafayev confirmed what he had said in that
video message, and asserted that he had been pressured by the prosecution.

7) The motion to revoke Tural Mustafayev’s victim status, which was
backed by Mustafayev as well, was rejected groundlessly.

8) By scheduling a hearing every day, Allahverdiyeva deprived the
defendant of the opportunity to liaise with her lawyers, thus violating
the right to effective defence. The judge has ignored the repeated
requests and objections made in this regard. Allahverdiyeva also
overruled the objections regarding interference by court guards in
confidential discussions between the defendant and her lawyer, and
failed to intervene in this regard. I should remind that the
investigation of evidence is the direct duty of the court under the CPC.

Considering the bias that Ramella Allahverdiyeva has demonstrated during
the court proceedings by violating all her duties set forth in Article
28.4 of CPC, I request that she be dismissed from the present case. I
request that the above-mentioned circumstances be re-investigated and
new decisions be made on these motions under the chairmanship of an
impartial judge. I want to additionally note that in the detention
facility, I came across people repeatedly accused and convicted of many
crimes, and among them, there are some charged under Article 144, which
is human trafficking. Among people, they are known as “mama rosa”
[nickname for a female procurer]. What Ramella Allahverdiyeva has done
to Themis is nothing compared to what those women have done to the
victims of human trafficking. You have not respected the justice
legislation and have turned it into the bondmaid of the prosecutor’s
office. I request that the court disqualify you from this proceeding. I
don’t want to see the law being insulted in such a non-professional manner”.

The defence backed the motion. Commenting on the objection, the public
prosecutor said that the motions [referred to in the objection] were
vague and unsupported by the circumstances of the case and not
consistent with the case materials. He said that they had not been filed
in accordance with criminal procedure legislation, and there were no
grounds to justify them. He further remarked that the issues raised in
those motions were of a general nature and were rightly rejected by the
court’s rulings. He therefore noted that there were no grounds on which
to object to the judge who made those rulings. After a deliberation, the
panel of judges rejected the objection as unfounded.

Ismayilova then declared that she wanted to present an objection against
the court clerk on the grounds that the court minutes had been
falsified, and said that she wanted to discuss this objection with her
lawyers. As the reason for the objection, Ismayilova referred to the
misrepresentation and misinterpretation of the judges’ words regarding
the 15-year jail sentence awaiting her in the court minutes. Ismayilova
said that the true context of these words had been shown in the media.
Ismayilova recalled that after the court’s denial of her motion
requesting audio and video recording of the proceedings, she had asked
to see the court minutes, but the court had not agreed. Ismayilova
expressed her objection to the court clerk and requested that she be
given an opportunity to familiarise herself with the minutes of the
court hearings. Ismayilova noted that there could be other cases of
falsification regarding other matters and she wanted to file motions for
the timely correction of those falsifications. But the court denied this

_Lawyers’ motions_

Lawyer Fariz Namazli filed a number of motions during the hearing. The
lawyer requested that the representative of Radio Azadliq, Adil
Ismayilov, be invited to the hearing for the reason that the charges
filed against Ismayilova were related to her activities at Radio
Azadliq. “A criminal case has been launched against Radio Azadliq in a
separate proceeding, and investigations are allegedly on-going. Since
the charges are directly related to the activities of Radio Azadliq, it
is important that its representative, Adil Ismayilov, be invited to the
hearing and questioned to clarify their position”. However, this motion
was rejected.

The second motion requested that the following documents be added to the
case file and investigated at the stage of examining the documents: a
letter dated 23 April 2015 of the National Television and Radio Council
(NTRC); an extract from the minutes of the NTRC’s meeting #11 dated 30
December 2008; a letter dated 14 May 2015 of the State Radio Frequency
Department of Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies; a
letter dated 23 June 2015 of the Radio and Television Broadcasting and
Satellite Communications Production Association of the Ministry; and a
letter #255/6 dated 30 December 2008 of the NTRC. This motion was also

The lawyer also requested that the contracts signed between Javadova
Esmira Tural gizi and the RFE/RL Corporation and between Namazov
Shahvalad Abutalib oglu and the RFE/RL Corporation be added to the
criminal case materials and examined at the stage of examining the
documents. This motion was denied.

Namazli filed another motion requesting that six witnesses mentioned in
the indictment be questioned. The lawyers also requested time to prepare
new motions and to hold discussions with Ismayilova for this purpose.

The next hearing was set for 18 August at 11.00am.

*Prosecutor seeks nine-year jail sentence for Khadija Ismayilova*

_Summary: Hearing 8 (18 August 2015)_

·      Khadija Ismayilova presented a letter to the chairman of the
court requesting the protection of the presiding judge’s right to
vacation time;

·      Ismayilova raised an objection to the composition of the panel of
judges, which remained unconsidered;

·      Ismayilova and her lawyers filed numerous motions, but none were

On 18 August, the hearing resumed at the Baku Court of Grave Crimes.
Judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva presided over the hearing.

Like previous hearings, this hearing was semi-closed. Only Ismayilova’s
family members and representatives of the German and UK embassies were
allowed to attend the hearing. From the media, only Azadliq newspaper
and APA news agency reporters were permitted entry. Numerous other
journalists and members of the public who attempted to observe the
hearing were again denied entry to the courtroom. Once again, many
others unrelated to the case were already seated in the courtroom.

_Khadija Ismayilova’s letter to the chairman of the court _

At the beginning of the hearing, Ismayilova said she had a letter to be
presented to Mahmud Nabiyev, the Chairman of the Baku Court of Grave Crimes.

The letter said: “For the sake of a fair trial, ensure Ramella
Allahverdiyeva’s right to vacation. The summer is going to be over and
the holiday season is about to end, and I don’t want my right of defence
to be violated or to be tried based on hasty decisions made in a hasty
proceeding. Please, do not base the judge’s right to rest on the
progress of my trial, and allow Allahverdiyeva to go on vacation. I will
wait. If after returning from the vacation the judge continues the
proceeding earnestly and without haste, I think that it will benefit the
justice henceforth. Best wishes, Khadija Ismayilova”.

The judge said that the letter written to the court chairman had no
relation to her and advised it be presented to the court though the mail
or a lawyer.

Ismayilova then stated her objection to the composition of the bench.
“Considering the fact that the court panel is interested in the criminal
prosecution and has violated the principle of equality of parties, I
object to the composition of the bench, referring to Article 109.1.8 of
the Criminal Procedure Code. The objection is based on the following

1) The court is consistently denying the defence motions, including
those that request the inclusion in the case file of the documents and
the questioning of witnesses, both of which serve the purpose of an
objective investigation. Thus, the court only supports the stance of the
prosecutor and does not create conditions for the defendant to defend

2) Judge Karimov Novruz Agakarim oglu justifies the threats made against
the defendant by the presiding Judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva, thereby
violating the law. Moreover, the panel demonstrates unanimity in
rejecting the [defence] motions, while repeating the prosecutor’s
statements verbatim. Such cases continued to occur after another
objection had been raised against the presiding judge, and the panel
chaired by Ramella Allahverdiyeva prevented the inclusion into the case
file of the documents confirming that only Radio Liberty, not Khadija
Ismayilova, was authorised to hire new employees, and the documents
confirming that the license issues related to the radio’s broadcasting
were dealt with by the Baku Bureau. In view of the above-said, I request
that the composition of the panel be changed and the Judicial Legal
Council be requested to investigate the illegal actions of the judges
Ramella Allahverdiyeva, Tamilla Nasirullayeva, and Novruz Karimov. I
would like to add that Judge Novruz Karimov not only justified a breach
of law, but also made references to the falsifications in the minutes.
Considering the inadmissibility of a judge’s telling lies, I believe
that the current panel cannot consider this case”. The defence lawyers
backed the motion.

Commenting on the motion, the public prosecutor Ramazan Hadiyev said as
in the previous objection to the presiding judge, this objection was not
supported by reasonable evidence. He noted that the alignment of the
prosecutor’s and the court’s positions cannot be interpreted as the
court’s partiality. He said the objection was unfounded and requested
that it remain unconsidered. The judge broke for a deliberation to
discuss the objection. After the deliberation, the court left the motion

_Defence motions _

Then, Ismayilova filed a motion requesting the court to present any
contract or payment order bearing her signature. She quoted the bill of
indictment as stating that she had allegedly hired employees to Radio
Azadliq based on service contracts, enabling them to pay less tax to the
state budget. Ismayilova said there were no contracts or payment orders
bearing her signature, adding that she would welcome the opportunity to
see them in court. The prosecutor declared the motion was unfounded and
requested that it be rejected. The judge denied the motion after a short

Subsequently, Ismayilova and her lawyer Fariz Namazli filed a motion to
question additional witnesses, namely, Interpress website editor Ramal
Huseynov, ann.az website director Naila Bagirova, and Aznews website
editor-in-chief Elchin Zahiroglu. In support of the motion, the defence
noted that Ramal Huseynov’s statement was cited in the indictment, and
he therefore had to be summoned and questioned.

The judge said that while testifying in court Tural Mustafayev admitted
slandering Ismayilova, and several other witnesses also recanted their
original investigation statements defending her position. The judge said
that the fact that Mustafayev and others provided testimonies that
differed from their investigation statements would be assessed during
the court’s deliberations, and that there was no need to question
additional witnesses.

Next, lawyer Javad Javadov filed a motion, which said: “The
investigative agency accuses Khadija Ismayilova of engaging in
journalistic activities without being accredited by the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs. Note that there is a presidential decree dated 2
September 2002 on improving the rules for licensing certain types of
activities, according to which, journalistic activity does not require a
license. This is a fantasy made up by the investigative agency, which
has deemed Khadija Ismayilova’s activity to be illegal entrepreneurship.
Therefore, we request that the court send a request to the
Constitutional Court to clarify whether, according to the legislation,
journalism is an activity requiring a license”. Ismayilova supported her
lawyer’s motion, saying, “It is indeed an absolute fantasy. Your
president gathers media workers and says that you need to gain access to
the foreign press, while, on the other hand, you require a license for
working as a journalist for the foreign press”. Judge Novruz Karimov
rejected the motion .

Lawyer Javad Javadov filed a motion requesting that psychiatrist Araz
Mahmudchayli be questioned as an additional witness, on the basis that
Tural Mustafayev’s ex-fiancée Rovshana Rahimli had told the court that
Mustafayev had serious mental health issues, and they had appealed to
psychiatrist Araz Mahmudchayli, who had diagnosed Mustafayev as an
incurable psychopath. The judge denied this motion as well.

Lawyer Javad Javadov then noted that the documents seized during the
search in Radio Liberty’s Baku office had not been recorded separately
in the list, which constituted a gross violation of the procedural
legislation, meaning that those documents could not be regarded as
evidence. The lawyer requested that they be removed from the evidence
list. Judge Novruz Karimov rejected the motion.

After that, lawyer Fariz Namazli filed a motion requesting that the
documents on the results of the on-site tax inspection conducted in the
Baku office of Radio Liberty be obtained from the Ministry of Taxes at
the request of the court, added to the case file, and examined. Judge
Novruz Karimov declared that this motion was also denied.

Ismayilova said the court guards were interfering in her consultations
with her lawyers and requested the court to give her time for
consultations: “I am not adequately enabled to communicate with my
lawyers. I cannot consult my lawyers even while in court, as the guards
listen in on our conversations. My lawyers are hindered from giving me
documents. My right of defence is violated. On the other hand, being
brought to court every day, my right to walk in open air and to meet
with my family is also violated. I request one week from the court to
consult with my lawyers conveniently”.

Ismayilova also requested that the alleged victim Tural Mustafayev be
brought to court when she would testify. She said that after other
witnesses testified, she would have some questions for the victim. She
stressed that Mustafayev’s personal presence was important, as his
representative did not possess information about his private life.

The judge denied the motion, saying that Mustafayev had attended the

_Khadija Ismayilova’s testimony _

“I am charged with abuse of official powers as the head of the
representative office of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, tax evasion
and misappropriation in favour of a third party. I have not been the
head of the Azerbaijani Representation. The Baku Bureau is not the
Azerbaijani Representation. The Azerbaijani Representation has its
regulations. Management of the representation is carried out by the head
appointed by the company. I have not hired anyone. I myself was hired. I
have not signed a contract with anyone. My contract was signed by John
Kapler. There has not been such a legal entity as the Baku Bureau of
Radio Liberty. The Baku Bureau was one of the radio station’s
departments. My duties as the head of the Bureau were to produce quality
products and to effectively divide the workforce. In general, it is a
rule in the western media that there are two branches: financial and
production. I oversaw the production aspect and have not been engaged in
financial issues. Like the rest of the radio staff, I was also hired.
And I did a good job. Therefore, I have been arrested. Radio Liberty
[Radio Azadliq] has made an invaluable contribution in revealing truth
in the country. This is one of the reasons behind my arrest.

The contacts regarding the frequencies and broadcasting were signed with
the US Broadcasting Board of Governors. The license was acquired by the
US Broadcasting Board of Governors. This institution is based in
Washington, and its head is the US Secretary of State. If you have any
comments regarding this matter, address them to John Kerry. There is no
editorial office in Azerbaijan, where there are no contract workers in
addition to full-time staff. I preferred working as a contract worker
myself after leaving the managerial position, because I wanted to be
free. I made this choice preferring freedom, and to cooperate with other
organisations. I came when I wished, and did not come when I did not
wish. I was offered to sign an employment contract as a full-time
employee, but I refused.

What I am doing here now is proving that yoghurt is actually white,
because the prosecution has problems understanding even the simplest
issues. I understand that an order has been given for my arrest. But at
least they should have made a bit of an effort and put something
forward. They made up something in Intigam Aliyev’s case, but not in
mine. I feel hurt. You should have shown me the same respect which you
showed to Intigam Aliyev. Speaking lengthily about such simple things is
an insult to my intelligence. With such an approach to the case, you
insult my intelligence. Even the colour-blind understand that yoghurt is
white, but the employees of the prosecutor’s office do not. Did you need
to keep me in detention for eight months to understand that the Baku
Bureau is not the Azerbaijani Representation? How much did this
government need to spend to keep me in detention? By the way, by being
detained I found out secrets. For example, I learned that prisoners are
not given the meat and cheese that are meant to be given to them. It
would be better if the prosecutor’s office investigated such cases of
corruption. It was there, where I learned how and where the prosecution
authorities committed falsifications and from whom they received bribes”.

Then, the judge invited Ismayilova to testify in relation to Article
125. Ismayilova said she would not testify as long as Mustafayev’s
presence was not ensured. Mustafayev’s representative Safar Huseynov
said he could answer necessary questions, but Ismayilova objected. The
judge said that Mustafayev had answered Ismayilova’s questions in court,
and announced the notes made in the minutes.

Finally, the judge declared the beginning of the document examination
stage. The next hearing was set for 19 August at 15.00.

*Court partially grants only one of numerous defence motions *

_Summary: Hearing 9 (19 August 2015)_

·      The court examined case documents at this hearing, and the
documents in the case file were announced;

·      Khadija Ismayilova’s lawyers filed a number of motions, but only
one of them, which requested that Tax Ministry employees be summoned and
questioned as witnesses, was granted;

·      Imran Nurmammadov, a state tax inspector with the Baku Taxes
Department, was questioned as a witness.

On 19 August, another hearing was held in the criminal case against
Khadija Ismayilova at the Baku Court of Grave Crimes. Judge Ramella
Allahverdiyeva presided over the hearing.

The courtroom was again filled with people unrelated to the trial, with
many of those attempting to attend denied access. At the hearing, the
court continued to examine case documents. The court announced the
documents in the case file. Khadija Ismayilova requested that the expert
psychological opinion on Tural Mustafayev be read out in court. She said
that she had been shown that document by the investigator on the day of
her arrest. Ismayilova noted that in that document, Mustafayev was
described as having mental problems over the past two years. However,
the court could not find the said document in the case file, and stated
that it would be announced as soon as it was found.

The presiding judge announced another expert opinion on Mustafayev.
According to opinion #4267 issued by expert Vusal Mammadov, the issues
that drove Mustafayev to attempt suicide were his failure to find a job,
his financial difficulties, the tension in his relationship with his
fiancée Rovshana Rahimli, the negative opinion of him generated by
rumours spread about him, and Ismayilova’s actions towards him. The
expert opinion stated that at the time of his suicide attempt,
Mustafayev had not suffered any mental illness and was able to plan his
actions carefully.

At that point, Ismayilova noted that the motions regarding the
examination had been only partially granted,.. Moreover, said
Ismayilova, the expert opinion issued in December, which was to be
presented to the victim within 10 days according to the Criminal
Procedure Code, was given to him only in February. She noted that it was
a gross violation of the law and added, “If you accept that instance of
violation of the law as evidence, then please proceed”.

Lawyer Fariz Namazli recalled that at one of the previous hearings, when
the defence filed a motion for the questioning of six witnesses, the
prosecutor said there was no need as those witnesses’ investigation
statements had been included in the case file. The lawyer then requested
that the statements and contracts of those six witnesses, Shamsaddin
Hamidov, Gulnara Babayeva, Mustajab Mammadov, Malahat Nasibova, Gular
Sadigova and Samir Hasanov, be announced. The judge said these persons
had been not interrogated as witnesses and did not have witness
statements. The judge also said that with those individuals civil
contracts had been signed, which were announced at Ismayilova’s request.

Ismayilova then requested the case document, which stated that she had
signed contracts with Radio Azadliq employees Ilgar Rasulov and Rafig
Mammadov, but the court said there were no such contracts in the case
file. During the examination of the documents, it turned out that the
receipts in the case file bore the name of the Azerbaijani
representation, not of Ismayilova, who said that the Baku Bureau was
different from the Azerbaijani Representation, and could not be regarded
as the same.

Ismayilova’s lawyers Fakhraddin Mehdiyev and Fariz Namazli filed a
motion requesting that Imran Nurmammadov and Elchin Aliyev, the
employees of the Baku Tax Department who had compiled the interim act
dated 19 January 2015, and Emin Ilham oglu Mammadli and Zaur Zakir oglu
Mammadov, the experts who had issued the forensic accounting opinion
#2663 dated 13 February 2015 based on that interim act, be questioned as
witnesses in court.

The lawyers filed a second motion for the conduct of a new forensic
accounting examination. The motion was substantiated as follows:

1. The opinion states that it was not possible to identify the purpose
of a portion of the payments made by the Representation, but it is not
specified in the document /which/ payments they were, or at least the
amounts in question.

2. The opinion does not make clear the identities of the individuals -
who were not employees of the Representation – allegedly receiving these
payments. Nor is it clear how it was determined that the payments had
not been made for work or services related to the Representation’s

3. The opinion reads that from 01.01.2008 until 01.12.2014, RFE/RL.Inc
company transferred 4.621.900,0 (four million and six hundred and twenty
one thousand and nine hundred) AZN funds to the bank accounts of the
Representation. The opinion interprets this amount as income and thus a
profit tax of 154.063,3 manat is calculated. This is, at best, an
indicator of the lack of appropriate professional qualification, and at
worst  a clear bias, because the 4,621,900,0 (four million and six
hundred and twenty one thousand and nine hundred) manat funds were used
to ensure the continuation of the activity of the Baku Bureau of Radio
Free Europe/Radio Liberty for 6 (six) years, used to pay the wages and
honoraria of the staff and contract workers, office rent and technical
maintenance expenses. Accordingly, no income was generated. 4. The
opinion then notes that from 01.01.2008 till 01.01.2009 the radio
broadcasted through 101.7 FM frequencies without a license, which is
presented as the grounds for declaring all its activities as unlawful.
However, the Azerbaijani Representation of the RFE/Rl.Inc Company was
registered by the Ministry of Justice of Azerbaijan Republic on 12 April
2004 and has not been de-registered. Moreover, the radio broadcasted on
through short- and medium-wave frequencies and over the Internet. 5. As
seen from the criminal case materials, Khadija Ismayilova was not
involved in obtaining a license for the radio or extending its validity.
This was undertaken by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which is
based in Washington, DC, and which oversaw the contracts and
correspondence with the Ministry of Communications and Information
Technologies and NTRC. Besides, Ismayilova, as seen from her employment
contract with the RFE/RL Corporation, was only involved in production
work in the Baku Bureau and was not authorized to handle financial and
administrative affairs. However, despite this fact, she was referred to
as having administrative powers and responsible for financial affairs as
the head of the Baku Bureau in the forensic accounting opinion #2663
dated 13 February 2015. 6. This opinion is based on the interim act
dated 19 January 2015 of the experts of the Ministry of Taxes.
Apparently, the forensic accounting opinion dated 13 February 2015 is
cause for sufficient suspicion, though the evidence on which it is based
is unreliable.

The next defence motion requested the inclusion in the case file of the
letter sent to Judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva and Prosecutor General Zakir
Garalov by the leadership of Radio Liberty. Commenting on the motion,
Khadija Ismayilova said: “It seems that something had to be written
about Khadija Ismayilova and so they wrote this. Everything written
there is entirely fictitious and without factual basis. Not only was I
not the head of the representation, I did not have any relations with
them at all. I headed the Baku Bureau, which is not the Azerbaijani
representation. One does not need to graduate from the university to
understand this simple fact; a 3-year school education is enough for
that. I don’t believe that the employees of the Ministry of Taxes are so
poorly educated that they cannot understand this. I know that they were
forced to write this under direction. We are here trying to prove that
yogurt is white. Unfortunately, the court will not stop repeating the
prosecutor’s opinions. I think that the verdict will also be a
repetition of the indictment bill. In fact, we don’t want to prove
anything to the court. We just want to clarify two issues for ourselves:
first, whether the court provided a reasonable opportunity for
investigation, and, secondly, the extent to of the involvement of the
whole government, including the Ministry of Taxes and Prosecutor’s
Office, in this bias. As for the motion regarding those, who compiled
that act, I just want to look them in the face”.

Then lawyer Fariz Namazli filed a motion saying that the on-site tax
inspections conducted in the office of Radio Azadliq were suspended
until August 14, and on August 15 the inspection period was extended
until September 30. He wanted that decision to be included in the
evidence list.

Khadija Ismayilova said that 4 of the 5 charges brought against her were
related to Radio Azadliq and though she was not responsible for
financial affairs, experts had issued opinions about alleged violations.
Expecting the prosecutor to protest the motion, Khadija Ismayilova said
she wanted to read the text of the letter written by the central
leadership of Radio Liberty: “For 8 months, the work of the Azerbaijani
representation of Radio Liberty has been paralyzed by the interference
of the Prosecutor General’s Office and Ministry of Taxes of Azerbaijan
Republic, which we consider illegal. Before the tax inspections in the
Azerbaijani representation of Radio Liberty were concluded, a criminal
case against our former colleague Khadija Ismayilova was separated from
this criminal case and sent to court. It became known that the
investigating authority, as if to underpin the incitement-to-suicide
charge filed against Khadija Ismayilova in order to arrest her, brought
the charges of misappropriation of another's property through abuse of
service powers, illegal entrepreneurship and tax evasion, which are
related to her activity in Radio Liberty. Since the latter charges are
directly related to Radio Liberty and its activities, we feel obliged to
comment on them. We view the charges filed against Khadija Ismayilova
due to her activity in the radio station as charges against our
organisation and we do not accept them. As seen from the statute of the
Azerbaijan representation of RFERL Inc. and contracts signed with the
heads of Baku Bureau of Radio Azadliq, neither Khadija Ismayilova, nor
her predecessors or successors had financial responsibility or
obligation or authority to submit financial or other reports to tax
authorities. According to another charge filed against Khadija
Ismayilova, she arranged that some individuals, who cooperated with the
radio based on service contracts, be registered to pay simplified tax
instead of income tax, and wasted and misappropriated the 10 percent
difference between the simplified tax and income tax, i.e. 17 992 60
manat, thus committing the crime specified in Article 179.3.2 of the
Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic. Even if the investigation was
telling the truth, charging someone with misappropriation of property
for this action is illogical; here one could talk about only tax
evasion. It seems that such an outcome did not fit in with the plans of
the investigating authorities and they charged Khadija Ismayilova under
Article 179.3.2, which stipulates a jail sentence for a period of up to
12 years”.

The judge interrupted Khadija Ismayilova saying that the letter had been
sent to her and when she received it she would read it herself. Khadija
Ismayilova requested that the letter be included in the case file as an
addendum to her testimony, but the judge denied her motion.

The prosecutor requested that the motions be rejected as unfounded. He
did not object to the questioning of the expert who had compiled the
interim act. Commenting on the letter sent by the central bureau
leadership of Radio Liberty, the prosecutor said that the letter emerged
because of the denial of the defence motion requesting that a
representative of the radio be invited to the trial. He said that the
criminal case materials did not need the recommendations made in the
letter and requested the court to reject the letter.

Despite Khadija Ismayilova’s insistence, the court once again refused to
add the letter to the case file. The judge said that the letter must be
received via mail, registered in the clerical office and presented to
the judge with the court chairman’s instructions. She said that the
letter would be added to the case file when it was received by the court.

Then, the panel of judges broke for a deliberation to discuss the
motions. Only the motion regarding the questioning of the experts that
had compiled the interim act was partially granted by the court, and two
of the four experts, Baku Taxes Department employees Elchin Aliyev and
Imran Nurmammadov were summoned for questioning as witnesses.

This was followed by a 40-minute break in the hearing.

After the break, the State Tax Inspector of Baku Taxes Department, Imran
Nurmammadov, was questioned as a witness, but he could not finish his
testimony, as the working hours of the court were over.

The next hearing was set for 20 August, 11.00am.

*Protest held in support of Khadija Ismayilova  *

On 19 August, the next hearing was held on journalist Khadija
Ismayilova’s case in Baku Court of Grave Crimes. As in previous
hearings, no one with the exception of a few embassy representatives was
given access to the hearing. A group of journalists held a protest in
front of the court building demanding Khadija’s release. The protesters
held balloons of different colours and posters reading “Freedom to Khadija!”

The protesters were demanding and end to the government crackdown on
civil society and the release the jailed and detained journalists, human
rights defenders and political prisoners. “We’ll continue our struggle
with peaceful methods,” said the protesters. The journalists chanted
“Free Khadija!” during the protest.

*Summary: Hearing 11 (21 August 2015)*

·      Prosecutor requested a 9-year prison sentence for Khadija Ismayilova.

Khadija Ismayilova’s trial continued in Baku Court of Grave Crimes on 21
August. The presiding judge was Ramella Allahverdiyeva.

_Speech by public prosecutor, _Ramazan Hadiyev

“Khadija Ismayilova has abused her powers as the head of Baku Bureau of
Radio Liberty, has evaded payment of the taxes specified in Article 101
of Tax Code, and by signing service contracts with employees has enabled
them to underpay their taxes. However, Khadija Ismayilova did not plead
guilty to any of the charges. During the course of the trial, Aynur
Imranova said that she has known Khadija Ismayilova since 2003. She had
applied to Baku Bureau of Radio Liberty for employment, but was not
successful. Later, in 2011, she told Khadija Ismayilova that she wanted
to work at Radio Liberty, but Khadija Ismayilova said she did not have
the relevant authority on this issue. By the way, I should note that
Khadija Ismayilova was indeed not entitled to hire employees in 2011.
After May 2014, Imranova did not meet with Khadija Ismayilova as their
relationship grew cold. She always sought advice from Khadija
Ismayilova, as she was a world-renowned investigative journalist. She
was the guest on the After Work radio programme several times, but apart
from that, she did not cooperate with the Radio or publish her work
there, and did not sign an employment or a service contract with the
radio. In contrast to her court testimony, in her investigation
statement Aynur Imranova stated that she had applied to Khadija
Ismayilova, because the latter was the head of Baku Bureau of Radio
Liberty. Khadija Ismayilova did not agree to give her full time
employment and suggested that she work under a service contract, but
Imranova did not accept this proposal. I call the court’s attention to
the fact that Aynur Imranova has a higher education and knows her
rights. Thus is it possible to deceive her and compel her to write
something? Absolutely not. Judging from this fact, it is possible to say
that in her testimony Aynur Imranova deliberately sought to help Khadija
Ismayilova to evade responsibility. As that part of her testimony does
not reflect the objective reality, her investigation statement should be
accepted as evidence instead of what she said in her court testimony.

Testifying as a witness during the trial, Babek Bakirov said that he
started working at the Baku Bureau of Radio Liberty in September 1997,
knew Khadija Ismayilova as an influential journalist, and was appointed
as the head of the Baku Bureau in 2008, a role he held until 2010. He
noted that for those who worked at the radio based on an employment
contract, the radio paid taxes at a 14% rate, while those who worked
under a service contract paid taxes at a 4 percent rate, on an
individual basis. Esmira Javadova, who testified as a witness during the
trial, said that in 2009 she met with Khadija Ismayilova, presented her
articles and signed a service contract with her. Her monthly income was
500-600 manat initially, later rising to about 1400 manat. She paid
 simplified tax, and paid 4 percent of her income in taxes. She enjoyed
all relevant employment conditions at RL. My purpose in outlining this
is to point out that if Esmira Javadova had signed an employment
contract she would pay taxes at the 14 percent rate. In her
investigation statement, Esmira Javadova noted that Khadija Ismayilova
had recommended that she sign a service contract. This proves that
Khadija Ismayilova deliberately created conditions for tax evasion.
Javadova said in her testimony that she was forcibly summoned to give a
statement at 19.00 on a non-working day and gave her statement under
duress. However, the interrogation document shows that Esmira Javadova
was interrogated not on Saturday or Sunday, but on 20 October, which was
a working day. She changed her testimony after seeing Khadija Ismayilova
in the trial. She did not make any complaint to the prosecution
authorities with regard to the circumstances of duress. Therefore, I
believe that her investigation statement should be accepted as evidence.

Chingiz Sultansoy, who testified in this trial, also noted that he had
signed a service contract. He stated that as his job involved editing
texts, which required him to be present in the editorial office. Under
these circumstances, the reason that a service contract was signed is
clear to everyone. The purpose was to help the radio avoid paying the
higher taxes. During the search and seizure, 12 employment record books,
stamp and seal were taken from Radio Azadliq’s office. If Baku Bureau
was not an employer, as Khadija Ismayilova said, then why were these
there? From the Interim Act and other documents it once again becomes
clear that although there were 12-14 full-time employees, there were 30
computers in the editorial office. Service contracts were signed with
employees. During the last year under Khadija Ismayilova’s leadership,
Radio Azadliq operated without a license.

While testifying in court, victim Tural Mustafayev tried to defend
Khadija Ismayilova by all means, saying “I don’t know” and “I wanted
this” in response to my questions. He said that he had slandered her,
but he forgot one thing. Notably, he appealed to law enforcement
agencies several times stating incontrovertible things that no one else
knew. His investigation statement was also confirmed by his ex-wife
Shafa Mustafayeva. Tural Mustafayev’s family members, as well as the
results of the forensic examination, show that he is sane and physically
and psychologically healthy. Khadija Ismayilova forced Tural Mustafayev
to become financially dependent on her. Later, Tural Mustafayev
repeatedly begged her for forgiveness in order to restore his previous
[financial] situation, but Khadija Ismayilova did not forgive him, thus
bringing him to the brink of suicide. The public threat entailed by the
offence stipulated in Article 125 of the Criminal Code is that it drives
a person to death, and is an inhuman deed. Khadija Ismayilova’s offence,
as specified in articles 179.3.2, 192.2.2, 213.1, 308.2, 125 of Criminal
Code, has been fully proven. Khadija Ismayilova must be convicted in
order to rectify the situation and ensure her rehabilitation. She must
be sentenced to 8 years in jail under article 179.3.2 of Criminal Code,
to 4 years under article 192.2.2, to 5 years under article 125, to 2
years under article 213.1 and to 2 years under article 308.2. Thus
Khadija Ismayilova must be sentenced to 9 years in jail and incur a
3-year ban on holding a position in a state or municipal body. Khadija
Ismayilova must serve her sentence in a prison of common regime and pay
364 manat in judicial costs”.

Next, the Tural Mustafayev’s representative Safar Huseynov gave a
speech. He said that he agreed with what the public prosecutor had said.

The defence lawyers asked for time to prepare their speeches.

The next hearing was set for 26 August, at 11.00am.

*Lawyers request acquittal for Khadija Ismayilova  *

_Summary: Hearing 12 (26 August 2015)_

·      The defence filed a motion for a new trial, which was rejected by
the court;

·      Speeches by the defence lawyers stated that the charges against
Khadija Ismayilova had not been proved and that she must therefore be

On August 26, Khadija Ismayilova’s trial continued in Baku Court of
Grave Crimes. Judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva presided over the hearing.
Only three embassy representatives and pro-government media
representatives were granted access to the courtroom.

_Defence motion_

The defence filed a motion for a new trial on the ground that “the
prosecutor requested a sentence for [Khadija Ismayilova] referring to
documents that were not present among the case materials”. Commenting on
the motion, the prosecutor said that the defendant and the defence had
already posed their questions and had received responses, and requested
that the motion be denied. The court agreed to consider the defendant’s
testimonies in the deliberation room. The motion was denied,  and the
court invited the defence lawyers to give their speeches.

_Closing speeches of lawyers_

“Article 125 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic defines the
crime of incitement to suicide as follows: /Driving a person, who has
material, service or other dependence on the culprit, to suicide or to
attempted suicide by threats, cruel treatment or regular humiliation of
his dignity/”.

First of all, Khadija Ismayilova did not play an instigating role in the
suicide attempt by Mustafayev Tural Bulut oglu.

The last meeting between Khadija Ismayilova and Tural Mustafayev took
place on 9 March 2014, i.e. more than six months before the suicide
attempt. They did not communicated after that. How can a person drive
another person to suicide without communicating with him?

Khadija Ismayilova became acquainted with Tural Mustafayev in 2013. They
both worked at the Baku Bureau of Radio Liberty. But neither was
subordinate to or dependent upon the other, financially or otherwise.

Furthermore, the “regular” aspect is also absent in this case. During a
confrontation with Khadija Ismayilova at the investigative agency, Tural
Mustafayev admitted that for more than six months he had repeatedly
tried to meet with Khadija Ismayilova and had sent numerous text
messages with this intention, however Ismayilova had not responded to
any of his messages and no meeting took place.

There is no specific or objective evidence in the criminal case
materials regarding Khadija Ismayilova’s alleged intimidation of Tural

The opinion # T 221/2014 dated 28 November 2014 of the forensic medical
examination conducted within this case shows that based on the referral
by Goychay Central Regional Hospital dated 27 October 2014, Tural
Mustafayev was admitted to Republican Psychiatric Hospital #1 for
inpatient treatment on the same day, diagnosed with “affective
personality disorder and fits of depression”. Examination and treatment
revealed that Mustafayev “suffers from depressive personality disorder
involving suicidal attempts, and during anamnesis he noted that he has
suffered from mental disorders in the past 1-2 years, outpatient
treatments have been ineffective and during this period he committed 3
suicide attempts”. In a video message that Tural Mustafayev posted on
Youtube on 03 May 2015, he notes that he had attempted suicide and that
during the investigation of this incident by the Baku City Prosecutor’s
Office, he was forced by the first deputy prosecutor, Azer Asgarov and
investigator Vagif Suleymanov to provide a written statement declaring
that he had been driven to suicide by Khadija Ismayilova.

While being questioned in court, Mustafayev said that his suicide
attempt had nothing to do with Khadija Ismayilova, and that it was
related to his ex-fiancée Rahimova Rovshane Vagif gizi, as their
relationship was tense and his mental state was unstable. He stated that
he had slandered Khadija Ismayilova. Witness Rahimova Rovshana Vagif
gizi, who also testified at the trial regarding this charge, told the
court that Tural Mustafayev’s suicide attempt had nothing to do with
Khadija Ismayilova, Tural Mustafayev suffered from the severe form of
psychopathy and was physically violent towards her on multiple
occasions, which she reported to the Interior Ministry’s 102 hotline on
27 July and 16 October 2014. Following these calls, she was taken to the
police office together with Tural Mustafayev where statements were taken
from them. In September 2014 she accompanied Tural Mustafayev to see the
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Azerbaijan Medical University, Araz
Manuchohr (located at Caspian Plaza, 44 Jafar Jabbarli Street, Yasamal
District, Baku). Araz Manuchohr told Tural Mustafayev that he suffered
from a severe form of psychopathy.

Witness Imranova Aynura Imran gizi gave a similar testimony, saying that
Tural Mustafayev suffered from chronic alcoholism, became aggressive
after work, and was unable to control himself.

Mustafayev Bulut Bahadir oglu, Mustafayeva Nazakat Hasan gizi and
Mustafayeva Shafa Shahin gizi, all of whom testified as witnesses, said
that were unacquainted with Khadija Ismayilova, and that Tural
Mustayafev’s suicide attempt was related to his relationship with his
fiancée, Rovshana Rahimova.

Witness Abdullayev Javid Ilgar oglu did not confirm his investigation
statement, saying that it had been given under duress. He told the court
that he had no knowledge of any link between Tural Mustafayev’s suicide
attempt and Khadija Ismayilova.

Imranova Aynura Imran gizi also said that she had faced pressure while
providing her investigation statement, and had been offered well-paid
job, an apartment, etc. in return for a statement incriminating Khadija
Ismayilova. In his speech, the public prosecutor referred to the
statement contained in the indictment rather than any factual evidence
proving Ismayilova’s guilt.  Khadija Ismayilova must be acquitted of
this charge,” said the lawyer.

Fariz Namazli stated that the *Article 179.3.2 *charge against Khadija
Ismayilova is unfounded and illegal. “According to this charge, Khadija
Ismayilova has arranged that several people with whom the radio had
signed service contracts, be registered as payers of simplified tax
instead of income tax, thereby misappropriating the 10% difference
between the income tax and simplified tax, i.e. 17992,60 AZN.

First of all, Khadija Ismayilova has not signed contracts with the
persons listed in the indictment, namely Hamidov Shamsaddin Rauf oglu,
Babayeva Gulnara Rafig gizi, Javadova Esmira Turab gizi, Mammadov
Mustajab Mutallim oglu, Nasibova Malahat Ibrahim gizi, Sadigova Gular
Miryahya gizi, Hasanov Samir Mammadali oglu, Zeynalov Eldar Tahir oglu,
Nasibov Ilgar Elbay oglu, Mammadli Rafig Humbat oglu and “Fargli
Dushunja” (Different Opinion) newspaper founder and chief editor Namazov
Shahvalad Abutalib oglu, and there is no evidence in the case file
proving that she did.

It is evident from the contracts - presented by the defence but not
accepted or examined by the court, constituting a gross violation of the
right to a fair trial - that the contract with Javadova Esmira Turab
gizi was signed by Elizabeth Portale, an employee of Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty Corporation. The contract with Namazov Shahvalad
Abutalib oglu was signed by the official representative of the
Representation, Yahya Mirzayev.

The position of the official representative of the Representation was
held by Anne Eveling until 2005, and by Yahya Mirzayev since 2005 .

Generally speaking, if an individual entrepreneur builds a business
relationship based on a service contract instead of a labour contract,
this does not contravene the existing legislation, and there is no legal
provision prohibiting this practice. It is well known that, the subject
of both Article 179.3.2 and the Article 308.2 is an official. But
Khadija Ismayilova was not in charge of finances, and therefore was not
an ‘official’. While serving as the head of Baku Bureau of Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty, she was not responsible for finances. Her
responsibility was  limited to coordinating the activities of the bureau
based on the instructions of the radio leadership. Thus she was involved
exclusively in production work. In other words, she was not entrusted
with any property-related or financial obligations. The Azerbaijani
Representation of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty was officially
called the Representation of the RFE/RL Inc. Company in Azerbaijan
Republic. The Statute of the Representation was registered by the
Ministry of Justice of Azerbaijan Republic on 12 April 2004. According
to the Statute, the Representation was established by the RFE/RL Inc.
Company, founded and acting in accordance with the legislation of the
Delaware State of the USA, which assumes full liability for the
Representation’s obligations.

According to the Statute, “The Representation is not a legal entity. It
only advocates for and defends of the Company’s interests in the
Republic of Azerbaijan in a manner, which is not contrary to
Azerbaijan’s effective laws and the present statute…”  The
Representation is managed by the head appointed by the Company. The
duties, functions and powers of the head of the Representation are
determined in the power-of-attorney granted by the Company.

The Representation of RFE/RL Inc. Company in the Republic of Azerbaijan
is not the employer and it manifests itself on the labor contracts
signed with employees and the Amendments made to these contracts at
different times. As such, the labor relations between the employer and
employee are regulated by the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Corporation. Therefore neither the head of the Baku Bureau nor the head
of the the Azerbaijani Service can be considered financially responsible
persons. Although the prosecution accuses Khadija Ismayilova of signing
service contracts with Hamidov Shamsaddin Rauf oglu, Babayeva Gulnara
Rafig gizi, Javadova Esmira Turab gizi, Mammadov Mustajab Mutallim oglu,
Nasibova Malahat Ibrahim gizi, Sadigova Gular Miryahya gizi, Hasanov
Samir Mammadali oglu, Zeynalov Eldar Tahir oglu, Nasibov Ilgar Elbay
oglu, Mammadli Rafig Humbat oglu and “Fargli Dushunja” (Different
Opinion) newspaper founder and chief editor Namazov Shahvalad Abutalib
oglu, they have not presented contracts signed with these persons as
evidence for this charge. The originals of these contracts were seized
by the investigating agency during the search of the radio’s office.
These contracts were later presented to the inspection commission
together with the documents seized from the office and were examined.
But they were not later included in the case file, because they had not
been signed by Khadija Ismayilova. Therefore the prosecution did not
include these contracts in the case file, and presented an inaccurate
and unsubstantiated picture.,” Fariz Namazli noted in his speech.

This Article of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic concerns
illegal entrepreneurship, which involves generating a large amount of
income. This charge was filed against my client, because she has allegedly:

1)            continued the bureau’s radio broadcasting activities from
July through December 2008 although the license granted to the Radio
Free Europe/Radio Liberty expired on 01 January 2008 and was not
extended; hired various employees; and arranged payment of money to
herself and those persons under the pretext of salaries or honoraria,
thereby generating a significant income in the amount of 256,400 (two
hundred and fifty six thousand four hundred) manat and 54 (fifty four)
gapik, through illegal entrepreneurship; and

2)            during the period of her employment with the said bureau
based on an illegal civil contract as of 01 October 2010, [she] engaged
in illegal entrepreneurship by acting without accreditation despite
being obliged to obtain accreditation from the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs of Azerbaijan Republic in accordance with Articles 50 and 53 of
the Law on Mass Media of 07 December 1999 and the presidential decree of
08 February 2000 regarding the application of this law; and received an
income of 79,480 (seventy nine thousand and four hundred and eighty)
manat under the pretext of a salary and honoraria, thereby making a
total income of 335, 880 (three hundred and thirty five thousand and
eighty hundred and eighty) manat 54 (fifty four) gapik between 01 July
2008 and 01 December 2014.

First of all, we should note that RFE/RL Inc. Company is a
non-commercial company and that this company is funded by the US
Congress. It has never in the history of its operations engaged in
entrepreneurial activities.. As indicated in the information published
on the radio’s website, “Radio Liberty is a non-commercial organization
financed by the US Congress”. Entrepreneurship entails completely
different notions and its characteristics have been described in various
legislative acts.  The broader definition of entrepreneurship is given
in the following legal regulations:

According to Article 1 of the Law on Entrepreneurial Activity,
entrepreneurial activity is constituted by the independently performed
activities of a person whose the main objective is the extraction of
profit (concerning individual entrepreneurs - the income) from the use
of property, production and/or sales of goods, performance of works or
rendering of services. As for the accusation related to the radio’s
functioning without a license, Radio Azadliq was broadcasted over 101.7
FM frequency based on the special permit (license) # TR N 052 dated 07
September 2007 issued by the National Television and Radio Council
(hereafter NTRC) of Azerbaijan Republic.

Radio Azadliq was granted a one-year special permit (license) for radio
broadcasting by the NTRC’s decision dated 7 September 2007 of.

The permit in question (license) expired on 7 September 2008. According
to the NTRC’s decision dated 30 December 2008, the FM frequency
allocated to Radio Azadliq was revoked as of 01 January 2009.[1] From
that date, Radio Azadliq ceased broadcasting over the FM frequency. It
is unclear why the indictment bill indicated that the special permit
(license) expired on 01 January 2008. As stated in Article 50 of the Law
on Mass Media, a journalist’s accreditation is not a prerequisite for
his work, but a right which accords him additional status and opportunities.

On the other hand, Khadija was not a foreign journalist in 2010-2014,
but simply a local freelance journalist cooperating with local and
foreign media. In this case, it is inaccurate to treat her as a foreign
journalist and to claim that she needed to be accredited with the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Even if we assume that Khadija Ismayilova failed to obtain accredited as
an employee of a foreign media entity, the responsibility incurred under
the Law on Mass Media would be limited to the inability to enjoy the
rights of a journalist. That is, the legislation does not even stipulate
administrative or civil liability – let alone criminal responsibility –
for the failure to gain accreditation.

*a) regarding the charge brought under Article 213.1 of the Criminal
Code of the Azerbaijani Republic*

According to this charge, Khadija Ismayilova, as the Baku-based bureau
head of the Azerbaijani Representation of Radio Free Europe/Radio
Liberty, engaged in activities inconsistent with the main activity and
regulations of the organisation that she represented from 01 July 2008
to 01 October 2010; performed payments non-attributable to a
non-resident with indefinite purposes, thus evading tax payments of a
large amount, equalling 45,145 (forty five thousand and one hundred and
forty five) manat 63 (sixty three) gapik from the derived income of
1,354,368 (one million and three hundred and fifty four thousand and
three hundred and sixty eight) manat payable to the state budget under
Articles 83.9, 103, 105 of the Tax Code of Azerbaijan Republic and
Decision #55 of 01 March 2001 and #42 of 04 April 2003 of the Cabinet of
Minister of Azerbaijan Republic.

First of all, the statement “engaged in activities inconsistent with the
main activity and regulations of the organization” is unclear and vague.
As stated above, the Azerbaijani Representation of the Radio Liberty is
a non-commercial organisation, whose goal is not entrepreneurial
activity, but to support democratic values and institutions by spreading
news and ideas.

On the other hand, the Azerbaijani Representation of the Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty – RFE/RL Inc. Company has an exemplary record in
terms of payment of taxes and compulsory social security contributions.
According to the reports compiled during the tax inspections carried out
in 2009, 2010 and 2012, no violation of law was found. The same is true
for the inspections conducted by the State Labour Inspectorate. The tax
obligations of the employees, working on the basis of labour and civil
contracts, were performed in accordance with the requirements of
Azerbaijani legislation.

Finally, as a non-commercial organisation the Representation of the
RFE/RL Inc. Company in the Republic of Azerbaijan, was not liable for
profit tax.

In general, the fact that the amount of 1,354,368 (one million and three
hundred and fifty four thousand and three hundred and sixty eight) manat
transferred to its account from 01 July 2008 to 01 October 2010 are
presented as income demonstrates clear prejudice [on the part of the
court], because this amount does not constitute income, but rather the
minimum operational expenses (office rent, employees’ salaries,
honoraria for service contracts, maintenance, and material and technical
costs, etc.).

Moreover, the tax evasion charge cannot be filed against Khadija
Ismayilova as the head of the Baku bureau, because the Baku bureau head
did not have administrative and financial powers, nor bear the
responsibility for paying taxes and social security contributions. The
responsibility for tax evasion can be imposed on the persons who pay the
company’s taxes and submit tax and other reports. In the present case,
during her tenure as the head of Baku bureau of Radio Liberty, Khadija
Ismayilova was not in charge of payment of taxes and social security
contributions or submitting reports. These were not included in her
duties. Khadija Ismayilova only acted as a coordinator between the Baku
Bureau and the Prague office, which does not entail financial or
administrative responsibilities. Therefore, the bringing of the tax
evasion charge against Khadija Ismayilova is absolutely illegal. The
charge filed under Article 308.2 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan
Republic is also unclear, indefinite and raises significant questions,
in contravention of the requirement that the charge be precise and

First of all, as noted, Khadija Ismayilova is not and has never been an
official. She did not possess or exercise administrative or economic
functions while she was the head of Baku bureau.

Secondly, even if we assume that my client did serve as an official, it
is completely illegal to present her with the indicia of the offence
referred to in Article 308.2 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic.

At minimum, this is because the serious consequences of Khadija
Ismayilova’s abuse of official powers, or the possible impact on the
results of an election (referendum) have not been demonstrated.

Given the above, the charges brought against Khadija Ismayilova are
baseless and she must be acquitted,” the lawyer said, concluding his speech.

The other defence lawyer, Fakhraddin Mehdiyev declared the indictment to
be trumped-up, illegal and unfounded. “The charges are based on
assumptions, are prejudiced and are related to Khadija Ismayilova’s
[investigative journalism]. The public prosecutor did not refer to any
piece of legislation in his speech, and the current proceedings are an
embarrassing indictment of the right to presumption of innocence. The
prosecutor recited a fairy tale without referring to facts. Khadija
Ismayilova cannot be subject to the filed charges and must therefore be
acquitted,” Mehdiyev said.

Khadija Ismayilova then requested a week to prepare the closing speech,
but the judge set the next hearing for August 31, 14.00.

*Supreme Court denies Khadija Ismayilova’s cassation appeal*

_Summary: Hearing 2 (26 August 2015)_

·      The Supreme Court denied the cassation appeal filed by Khadija
Ismayilova’s lawyer Yalchin Imanov against the Appeal Court’s decision
on the preliminary hearing of the private lawsuit brought by Elman
Hasanov (Bayragdar).

On 26 August, the Supreme Court heard the case of journalist Khadija
Ismayilova. The hearing was presided over by Judge Ali Rustamov.

_The cassation appeal filed by lawyer Yalchin Imanov_

The Supreme Court heard the cassation appeal filed by Khadija
Ismayilova’s lawyer against the preliminary hearing decision dated 28
April 2015, regarding the private lawsuit filed by Elman Hasanov
(Bayragdar). The cassation appeal had been filed following the Appeal
Court’s denial of the motion submitted by lawyers Fariz Namazli and
Yalchin Imanov to conduct the court session through judicial
investigation. The cassation appeal was based on the fact that in their
motion, the lawyers noted the need to summon and question an employee of
the Ministry of National Security (MNS).  The lawyers wanted to clarify
a number of issues in the private lawsuit brought by Elman Hasanov
(Turkoglu) in the Court of Appeal. It was noted that the MNS employee
needed to testify as he had alleged that Khadija Ismayilova had
published the letters, although Khadija Ismayilova did not publish any
letter in 2011. Thus both the defendant and the private prosecutor had
to be questioned, and the evidence had to be re-examined. The cassation
appeal also noted that “within one day MNS sent a request to the
Investigation Department of the Prosecutor’s Office, to which the latter
responded on the same day, suggesting that the Prosecutor’s Office was
informed in advance. Therefore, in order to ensure an objective and
comprehensive investigation of the case, the MNS employee must be
questioned during the consideration of the case in the Court of Appeal.
Therefore, the court session must be conducted through judicial

The court collegium denied the cassation appeal.

Elman Hasanov (Turkoglu) had requested that Khadija Ismayilova be
brought to criminal responsibility for /Libel/ under the Criminal Code,
claiming invasion of his privacy and slandered in a post published by
the journalist on her Facebook page. Binagady District Court ruled that
the journalist must pay 2500 manat in fines. The court’s decision has
been appealed.

Khadija Ismayilova was arrested on 5 December 2014. She was initially
charged with incitement to suicide. In February, new charges of
misappropriation, tax evasion, abuse of office and illegal
entrepreneurship were brought against her.

*Khadija Ismayilova delivers her closing speech *

_Summary: Final hearing (31 August 2015)_

·      Khadija Ismayilova delivered her closing statement;

·      Court broke for deliberation to announce the verdict.

On August 31, the Baku Court of Grave Crimes held a hearing on the case
of journalist Khadija Ismayilova. Judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva presided
over the hearing.

Today’s hearing was no different from previous ones in terms of its
semi-closed format. Similarly, only APA, Virtualaz.org and Telegraph
reporters were allowed into the courtroom, along with representatives of
the US and German Embassies and Ismayilova’s family members. The
representatives of UK and French embassies and European Union were
denied access, along with numerous journalists and members of the
public. There were a number of police officers and non-uniformed
employees of the Ministry of National Security (MNS) present in the
vicinity of the court.

The courtroom seats were once again occupied by strangers, non-uniformed
court officers and MNS employees.

_Khadija Ismayilova’s closing speech_

At today’s hearing, Khadija Ismayilova delivered her closing speech:

“Dear hearing participants, dear court, and also those of you who have
become observers of this hearing under duress and have filled the seats
to prevent the entry of the public interested in the hearing!

I do not know what have concluded from this express hearing, but my
conclusion is that the repression machine is about to collapse. Of
course, it can be considered as the effect of the decline in the oil
market, but there are also other reasons. One of the reasons is us!

The ability of the Azerbaijani law enforcement system to concoct a crime
when there is none is well known to many people. But by skilfully
exposing the disgraceful facts of Azerbaijan's judicial process for
years, honest citizens, journalists (I surely do not mean those who
instead of reporting on this hearing serve as a clerk for the
prosecutor's office) and human rights defenders of this country have
forced the repression machine to conceal their actions in ever more
disgraceful ways. Like the liars who are forced to tell more lies when
their lies are exposed, the employees of the prosecutor's office and the
court were forced to resort to further falsifications and legal
violations when their illegal actions were revealed.

The first thing revealed by these proceedings was the fact that the
employees of prosecutor's office and tax authorities have failed to
justify their pay packets and have failed to perform a proper smear
campaign in return for the illegal advantages that they enjoy.

Yes, even smearing requires skill. Even the statements that they forced
people to sign by breaking their will or taking advantage of their
illiteracy, psychological state and fear did not provide sufficient
grounds for the criminal case opened against me, and moreover, it was
revealed during the court proceedings that each of those statements had
been extracted through illegal methods; either under duress, or by
falsification through having them signed without being read - and
sometimes even by falsifying the signatures to the statements. One of
the witnesses was even offered bribe. How miserable you are! The case
fabricated against me using the cheapest versions of falsification was
its own exposure. Therefore, I am not going to describe these matters at
length in addition to what my lawyers have already said.

Many facts were revealed when the tax inspectors responded to the questions:

1.             They said they had not seen a single document with my

2.             They noted that they had examined only the documents
given to them by the prosecutor's office.

3.             They said that they had not examined the documents in the
computer of Yahya Mirzayev, who was in charge of the management of the
representative office based on a power of attorney, or viewed any
document in electronic media.

4.             They said that they had prepared the Interim Act without
applying to the official representative of the representative office to
obtain the documents:

5.             They also said that they had presumed the violations
alleged in the Interim Act based not on the documents that were
available, but rather on those unavailable.

In order to reaffirm for myself how desperate the prosecutor's office
was, I decided to play a game. I gave a deceptive hint to the
prosecutors. I told them that my friendship with Tural Mustafayev (yes,
my relationship with the victim had no other name or form) began after
our discussions on how he should advocate for his rights after being
beaten during Jamil Hasanli's rally in Sabirabad. The prosecutor's
office included that date in the prosecution’s speech in an attempt to
show that they had conducted a detailed investigation. It was not very
difficult to find that my communication with Tural Mustafayev was
limited to the office of the Radio Azadliq. The prosecutor's office
possessed the antenna data of Mustafayev's phone. These data are in the
case file as well and have also been presented to me. For this, they
needed to work and examine documents, but the employees of the
prosecutor's office do not have time to work. After all, they need time
to spend the money they receive in return for their falsifications and
slander. Therefore, the president needs to check the effectiveness of
the money spent on the repression machine. They do not justify your
trust, Mr. President.

As the witness statements were exposed one after another, the
prosecutor's office decided that the case materials, which the
prosecutor's office itself had devised, should not be examined in court,
because this would reveal before everyone how they had cheated those who
gave them the orders with regard to this case.

The selected statements that they passed to the media were their
attempts to report to their masterminds, which again failed. Poor
quality falsification forced the court to commit further violations of
law, and I am sure that Ms. Ramella Allahverdiyeva and her leadership
have already complained to the mastermind, the Presidential
Administration about the trouble caused by the poor job of the
prosecutor's office. When I say I am sure, I mean I know.

Now I would like to speak to the charges brought against me.

These charges have not been selected randomly. It is because I have
spoken and written so much about the crimes described in these Articles
[of the Criminal Code].

I won't talk much about Article 125. I was not the only person who wrote
and spoke about the wave of suicide that swept the country due to
poverty, debt, and police violence. If the reason for Tural Mustafayev's
suicide attempt was not his relationship with his fiancée, but
unemployment, then as I had said at the previous hearing, Ilham Aliyev
must have shared the dock with me *[at this point, the presiding judge
Ramella Allahverdiyeva interrupted Khadija Ismayilova's speech, demanded
that she spoke on the merits of the charges and issued her a warning]*.
Mustafayev complained of his failure to find a job with the
pro-government media. Surely, as Mustafayev himself has pointed out, all
this was nothing more than slander and the MNS (the Ministry of National
Security) and Baku City Prosecutor's Office had been mobilized to force
him into slandering. This is the very MNS which planted a camera in my
bedroom in 2011 and blackmailed me in 2012. This is the very Baku City
Prosecutor's Office which covered up that crime, which is why I have
sued them.

You have probably watched the movie "If not that one, then this one”.
You also probably remember the famous "bridesmaid" character. you must
also remember the famous character of that movie – the wife of the
brother. Assuming the bride and the groom were spending their first
night together, she tried peeking through the keyhole. Inside, Server
makes Meshedi Ibad withdraw; he is holding a gun. In the meantime, the
wife of the brother does not call anyone for help because she is
actually seeing what she is imagining but not what is happening in
reality. So those plotting against me are acting like the wife of the
brother. They are so enthusiastic that they don't know they are going to
fall once the door opens.

The Azerbaijani government did its utmost to drive me to suicide, but I
proved stronger. They poked their noses in my private life, but they
could not break me. They blackmailed me, but I did not grovel. I won't
be broken even if they sentence me to 15, or even to 25 years in jail.
They could as well silence me like Elmar Huseynov, Rafig Tagi or Rasim
Aliyev. But I was cautious and always had someone beside me. I never
stayed alone. There were people dealing with my security. Therefore,
there are a lot of witnesses to my relationship with Tural Mustafayev.
The prosecutor referred to text messages and Facebook messages, which
have not been examined in court – a violation of law. If those messages
were to assist the prosecution, why were they not read out or examined
in court? Because if they had been examined, they would reveal that
Mustafayev had not presented them with these pages [screenshots?]; some
of them have been taken out of context and some of them have been
concocted. It would also become clear that contrary to the prosecution's
allegations, Tural Mustafayev was not sacked by Meydan TV. He himself
presented his resignation letter on February 28, 2014, that is, 12 days
before March 9, not after the cessation of our relationship as the
prosecution puts it.

I used to think about the power of the prosecutor office's imagination,
and struggled to believe that they could have fabricated this story
themselves, because the strength of their fantasy was a surprise for me.
But one day, when my cellmates were watching a movie starring Izzat
Bagirov and Mehriban Khanlarova, I was distracted from the book that I
was reading by familiar phrases and storyline. I had read them my own
case file. Yes, it was theft. Like a movie, you know.

Again, they were not strong enough to think of something new. They stole
from a movie.

Now let's look at the other charges fabricated by our glorious
law-enforcement agencies, who even steal their slanders:

Article 213 – tax evasion

It was absurd to bring the tax evasion charge against Khadija
Ismayilova, the person who investigated the money stolen from
Azerbaijani people by the presidential family and moved offshore, their
abuse of state contracts and tax evasion through offshore companies. My
students, my colleagues and I were writing about offshore accounts and
cases of tax evasion through the companies set up on islands in their
own names and in Azerbaijan under the names of others.

So here it goes - the tax evasion charge has been brought against me. I
have paid taxes on every single penny that I earned. But the charge has
nothing to do with my tax reporting. They claim that I was responsible
for the tax reports of the radio's Azerbaijani representation, my
employer. Moreover, these reports had to be made not according to the
law but according to what they wanted them to look like. We spent part
of the investigation period and the trial simply reminding the
prosecution of the simple and undeniable facts, such as "the Azerbaijani
representation is not the same as Baku Bureau", "I headed the bureau,
not the representative office", "the Radio has never sold anything or
made any profit", "I did not have the financial responsibility". But
they insisted, saying “the yoghurt is black". They had been given an
order and they probably had to make that argument accordingly. But they
should at least have some respect for our intellect and not present us
with this poor quality falsification.

Article 179. Waste and misappropriation

Even our slanderous prosecutor’s office didn’t dare accuse me of
misappropriation. They devised an allegation stating that I had wasted
the taxes payable to the state budget in favour of third parties, i.e.
the radio's employees. My colleagues and I have written a lot about the
cases of embezzlement and misappropriation, about asphalt roads, a
kilometre of which cost 60 million manat, about the Flag Square, which
cost the state 30 million manat when its estimated cost was 6-7 million
manat, about the preparations for Eurovision, and about the construction
of Crystal Hall. But unlike the prosecutor’s office, we substantiated
our articles with documents and facts, not with speculations and
probabilities. Moreover, unlike the charges brought against me, the hero
of my stories, Ilham Aliyev *[at this point, judge Novruz Karimov
demanded that Khadija Ismayilova speak on the merits. Presiding judge
Ramella Allahverdiyeva also warned Khadija Ismayilova, but Khadija
Ismayilova ignored them and continued her speech)* has truly wasted the
state budget entrusted to him, and the direct beneficiaries of this
waste are his family members - his children.  This is clearly
demonstrated by the copies of orders and founding documents of the
companies, which I attached to my articles. However, the prosecutor’s
office and tax inspectors failed to put forward any document confirming
my powers, nor even a single contract or payment order bearing my
signature. They could have made falsifications, but maybe they did not
dare to after it had been proved that they had falsified Intigam
Aliyev's signature.

Article 308. Abuse of office

The prosecutor’s office also failed to prove how I had abused my powers.
I am more successful in proving something than glorious prosecutor
office employees. For example, I had attached to my article a copy of
the document which proved that the order to sign a contract with a
company belonging to the president *[at this point, presiding judge
Ramella Allahverdiyeva interrupted Khadija Ismayilova's final speech,
saying "Khadija Ismayilova, I interrupt your final speech and I am
leaving for the deliberation room”. Khadija Ismayilova ignored the
judge, and this time Ramella Allahverdiyeva said "Khadija Ismayilova, I
warn you"] *for exploitation of six gold mines including Chovdar had
been given by no one esle but the president *(judge Novruz Karimov
intervened, demanding that she speak on the merits of the case. After
that, presiding judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva once again warned Khadija
Ismayilova)*. I also produced documents proving just how easily the same
family acquired state contracts without a tender and how millions were
transferred to industrial enterprises on the orders of the head of the
family before their privatization for a few pennies.

Article 192. Illegal entrepreneurship

This is my favourite charge. Do you know what illegal entrepreneurship
is? This is when the president, the prime minister or a member of
parliament is engaged in entrepreneurship. My foreign colleagues and I
were taken aback when we saw that the president *(at this point, judge
Novruz Karimov intervened again and reiterated his warning. The
presiding judge again warned Khadija Ismayilova and noted that this was
the last warning and before they would end her speech and go to the
deliberation room. Khadija Ismayilova told the presiding judge that she
was speaking to the charges; the judge replied that she was not. The
presiding judge said "If you diverge from the charges once more, we'll
interrupt your final speech and leave for the deliberation room”.
Khadija Ismayilova said, "I do not diverge from the charges. I am
speaking to the charges filed against me”. The presiding judge repeated
her previous statement)* was personally the founder of companies in
Virgin Islands. He was not yet president when setting up this company,
but he was an MP and vice-president of SOCAR. Then he became Minister,
and then president, but did not relinquish the company. We were
surprised when we saw the name of Mehriban Aliyeva in the documents of
the companies based in Panama. But what's the use? The prosecutor’s
office did not share our surprise. Where was the prosecutor’s office
when my colleagues and I wrote exposed the illegal business of an MP?
Why did they fail to react? They told  Transparency International that
they had not received an official appeal with regard to the facts
contained in those articles. In other words, they turned a blind eye to
this. However, according to the law, the fact that it was stated in a
newspaper was enough to start criminal proceedings. Let it be so. Let's
believe that you were not aware. Accept what I say in my final speech
here as an official appeal. I have so many witnesses that to this
appeal. The links of my articles are attached to the texts. So come on,
open the criminal case!

And finally, my friends are asking me what I think about the jail
sentence and the difficulties awaiting me. Frankly, I do not think about
it. What's does it matter if I become one of the 500 prisoners in Prison
#4 waiting in a queue for eight WCs, when this country is facing so many
troubles? There, I'll have the opportunity to expose the official claims
of unprecedented development and transparency in the penitentiary
service as a myth. I am a person who can turn problems into
opportunities *(Ramella Allahverdiyeva interrupted, saying "Speak on
merits")*. This is how it has been and how it will be. I'll build a
house out of the stones thrown at me. They ask if it is not difficult.
Everything depends on what you are attuned to. Those who are attuned to
struggles do not feel difficulties. As Nazim Hikmat once said: "Let
those, to whom the tears of family members seem like a burden, not walk
the same path with us”.

My colleagues and I expose corruption. I won't be able to do this work
while I am in jail. But I am glad that following my arrest, 100
journalists from around the world launched an investigation project.
Yes, I am in jail, but the work goes on. Because the work that we do is
important. We wrote and we informed the public, despite the arrest and
blackmails that we faced in retaliation *(the prosecutor stated that
Khadija Ismayilova had diverged from the merits)*. But I am still happy
that I have fulfilled my duty. We, the journalists, were able to stand
up for our people and our state. Corruption does not only make some
people richer, it also deprives many of opportunities, education, and
healthcare service, and sometimes of life.

We bear witness to the fact that the people that were mentioned in the
International Bank fraud, which we had investigated in 2011, *(presiding
judge demanded that Khadija Ismayilova speak on merits) *were accused of
embezzlement on a far larger scale afterwards. The pain and anger that I
felt when it was revealed that tender frauds were behind the facade
renovation work of the building that burned down in Azadliq Avenue was
too great *(presiding judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva interrupted, saying
that this had nothing to do with the charges. Khadija Ismayilova said
she had been arrested for uncovering such facts and the order for her
detention had been given due to her investigative work)*. But we were
writing about that fraud. This network should have been stopped on time!
But no, because one end of this network reached too high. Corruption led
to a tragedy that resulted in the death of 15 people. We had sounded the
alarm about the fraudulent businessmen and flammable facade materials on

Time will not stop when I am in jail. Elections, stealing from the
budget *(judge Novruz Karimov demanded that Khadija Ismayilova spoke on
merits and the presiding judge again warned her)*, and throwing dust in
people's eyes will continue.

I am sure that real journalists and vigilant citizens will continue to
expose election fraud. My request to my colleagues and to Radio Azadliq
is: Please make sure that the only difference in this year's "Election
Train" programme *(the prosecutor demanded that she speak on merits, to
which lawyer Fariz Namazli objected. The presiding judge warned
Ismayilova, backed by the prosecutor, who said that Khadija Ismayilova
was speaking beyond the charges. Lawyer Fariz Namazli again objected) is
*the presenter's voice, and that the team continues to expose corruption
with the same enthusiasm as before.

Let's not forget that this is our country, and let's not sacrifice it to
bandits with our silence *(the court panel stood up and announced
deliberations, and hurried to the deliberation room without announcing
the date of the next hearing. Khadija Ismayilova continued her closing
speech)*. I am in good company here. How happy I am if I share the same
fate as Leyla Yunus, Intigam Aliyev, Anar Mammadli, Ilgar Mammadov,
Tofig Yagublu, Rashadat Akhundov, Ilkin Rustemzades and believers, human
rights defenders and journalists serving jail sentences for the sake of
their beliefs and principles. Do not worry about me.

In conclusion, I would like to express thanks to:

·      My colleagues, who did not let our work remain unfinished;

·      Activists protesting against repression;

·      International human rights bodies for their continuous support
and attention;

·      Embassy representatives observing this hearing. It is true that
the unlawfulness that they see in courtrooms does not prevent their
ambassadors from welcoming projects soaked with corruption or their
countries' leaders from shaking the hands of a dictator. But anyway, I
thank them. At least, for not giving lame excuses ignorance.

·      I thank my lawyers for their selfless assistance to me, and to
the helpless people who turned to me for help in prison during these
months. Thanks to my lawyers, a couple of mothers have been reunited
with their children. They tasted freedom again. There are so many silent
victims of injustice in this country here. We are so happy if we can
help some of them.

And lastly, Ms. Ramella Allahverdiyeva, I wish you good vacation after
you announce the verdict. I wish that you could one day spend your
vacation without pain of conscience and without silencing your
conscience. I hope that the boomerang effect of the evil that you are
going to sign does not affect you or your loved ones. However, the law
of conservation of energy leaves me with little hope.

*Khadija Ismayilova sentenced to 7.5 years in jail*

_Summary: Verdict hearing (1 September 2015)_

·      Khadija Ismayilova was acquitted of incitement to suicide (filed
under Article 125 of Criminal Code), but convicted of the rest of the

On 1 September, the Baku Court of Grave Crimes held a final hearing on
journalist Khadija Ismayilova’s case. Judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva
presided over the hearing.

The semi-closed hearing was attended by APA, Virtualaz.org
and Telegraph reporters, representatives of the US, German and UK
embassies and the EU delegation, and members of Khadija Ismayilova’s
family. A group of journalists and members of the public were again
denied access. A large number of police officers and non-uniformed MNS
employees were deployed around the court building.

The courtroom seats were filled up by strangers, non-uniformed court
officers and MNS employees.

*_The court’s verdict _*

The court acquitted Khadija Ismayilova of the charge filed under Article
125 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic (incitement to suicide)
on the grounds that she had not been proven guilty. However, the court
found her guilty under Articles 179.3.2 (misappropriation and waste on a
large scale), 192.2.2 (illegal entrepreneurship), 213.1 (tax evasion)
and 308.2 (abuse of official powers). Ismayilova was sentenced to 7.5
years in jail and given a 3-year ban on holding certain positions or
engaging in certain activities.

[1] http://www.ntrc.gov.az/az/content/news/276.html
; http://www.ntrc.gov.az/az/content/news/135.html

This message was sent to anriette at apc.org from:

Azerbaijan Human Rights Report | info at sportforrights.org | Rue de la Loi
1978 | Paris 7508

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