Vasif Adalat oglu IBRAHIMOV

Protestor

Ismayilli resident

Date of arrest – 25 February 2013

Charges (Criminal Code) –

220.1 – organizing or participating in mass disorders accompanied by violence, breaking, arson, destruction of property, application of firearms or explosives, or armed resistance to a representative of authority;

315.2 – Use of violence or violent resistance to, a representative of authority in connection with the exercise of the latter’s official duties, or use against the close relatives of such a representative of authority of violence which does not pose a danger to their life or health, or the threat of use of such violence.

Penal facility – Shaki Penitentiary Facility

Case summary – Ibrahimov was one of the Ismayilli residents who spoke against the violation of rights in the region and voiced critical opinions. Although he was not a member of any opposition party, he was in opposition to the local executive authorities in the country, particularly in the Ismayilli region.

Ibrahimov had publicized the pressures on business owners, such as the fact that their power supply was cut off for several days and their shops were closed, as well as various social problems, through ANS TV and the print media. He provided Ismayilli-based journalist Elchin Ismayilli with reports of illegal affairs and social problems in various parts of Ismayilli. As a result, Ibrahimov became a target of local authorities. On the first day of the mass protests (23 January) in Ismayilli, Ibrahimov gave an interview to journalists in which he described the construction of the Chirag Hotel as illegal and stated that 35 low-income families had been forced to leave the building which was then turned into a hotel. He criticized the local executive structures for their involvement.   In a part of his interview that was not aired, he blamed the Executive Head of the Ismayilli region and the son of the former minister of Labour and Social Protection of Population for these incidents.

Ibrahimov was not directly involved in the protests and confrontation. He was not arrested on the early days following the protests, but one month after the protests due to the intensive efforts of the local executive authorities. Charges were brought against him.

Sentence — Shaki Court of Grave Crimes sentenced Ibrahimov to 8 years’ loss of liberty on 17 March 2014. On 24 September 2014 Shaki Court of Appeal, and on 12 October 2016 Supreme Court upheld the sentence.

Commentary

This practice is widespread and took place during rallies in different regions of the country. People gather in front of the police or the district executive power office to exercise their right to peaceful protest and voice their slogans, later the police interferes, and initiates clashes, and people arrested because of these clashes are being charged with organizing civil unrest and resistance to the police based only on evidence provided by the police officers.

During the court hearings, it was not proved that accused people had an intention to organize civil unrest, moreover in some decisions it is indicated that people came to the police office to peacefully manifest their disagreement. Accused persons have faced charges related to the non-obedience and resistance to the police only based on the testimonies provided by the police officers themselves which are recognized as an injured party in the process. The court did not examine other evidences related to these cases. Video footage taken from the safety cameras mounted in the area clearly show no evidence of resistance to the police, moreover there is no evidence showing that accused persons were involved in criminal activity.

Following the incident, a criminal case was opened against Meydan TV internet channel which was preparing reports about the events in Mingachevir while broadcasting alternative news from there and the independent journalists cooperating with the channel were brought to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office and were interrogated there. Later it turned out that the criminal case was initiated against this TV channel and several journalists cooperating with it got a travel ban.