Activists arrested in Masalli

Masalli activists

All of these persons were arrested together with journalist Araz Guliyev and are, like him, residents of the Masalli District in southeast Azerbaijan who are practising Muslims. Some are friends of Guliyev, one is his relative; others are his acquaintances.

Some of them helped Guliyev collect information for his website. Others also attended the peaceful protest against the hijab ban at schools in late 2010. On the day the journalist was arrested, Ziya Tahirov was with him; of the others, only Rza Agali was arrested on 9 September 2012, like Guliyev and Tahirov. Kazimov and others were arrested on different dates.

Nonetheless, they were all found guilty of throwing stones at people during a disco held as part of a folklore festival in the Masalli District. Additional charges were brought against Araz Guliyev. There is no doubt that these persons were arrested for helping him. Their arrest was also intended to make the charges against Guliyev more serious, by claiming that the crime was committed by an organized gang.

During the trial, the doubtful and questionable testimonies against the defendants were accepted as more reliable evidence than testimonies given in their favour.

On 5 April 2013, the Lankaran Serious Crimes Court sentenced Kazimov to eight years’ loss of liberty and gave both Aghali and Tahirov seven years’ imprisonment. (Guliyev himself received an eight-year sentence.)

The Shirvan Court of Appeal upheld this sentence on 9 January 2014.

Source, March 2018 report

Вместе с журналистом Аразом Гулиевым (в списке под № 3) 8 сентября 2012 г. в ходе акции верующих в городе Масаллы были также арестованы еще 7 верующих. Вначале они были обвинены в хулиганстве (ст.221.2 УК). Впоследствии были добавлены новые статьи: 233 (нарушение общественного порядка), 283 (разжигание межнациональной розни), 315.2 (оказание сопротивления полиции с применением силы) УК АР. Кроме того, некоторые были обвинены в хранение наркотиков. 5 апреля 2013 г. Лянкяранский суд по тяжким преступлениям признал всех их виновным и приговорил к различным срокам лишения свободы.

Ни в ходе следствия, ни на суде вина обвиняемых по указанным статьям УК АР не была доказана.

Source, IPD report (December 2017)