[:en]On September 20, the Baku Court of Appeal held a preliminary hearing on the complaint of investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova. She appealed against the decision of the Binagadi District Court of August 9 this year rejected the journalist”s request to withdraw her probation.
The journalist asked the Court of Appeal to reverse the decision and release her from the probationary period. During the meeting, lawyer Javad Javadov made a number of motions. He asked the court to send a request to the Constitutional Court for interpretation of Article 71.1 of the Criminal Code.
“If, after at least half of the trial period, the conditionally convicted person has proved to be corrected by his behavior, the court, on the recommendation of the state body, can remove the conviction from the convict,” the article reads.
The petition was caused by the fact that the trial court considered that Ismayilova could not prove that she had “recovered”. Moreover, it is not clear what the Binagadi court was based on, since the execution and probation department of this region did not issue such a conclusion.
According to another petition, the defense requested that the court decision on the conditional release of the former director of the Aztelekom software Mammad Mammadov be included in the case.
The lawyer believes that the law should be uniformly applied and everyone before him is equal. The defense saw in the refusal to withdraw a criminal record with Ismayilova a violation of article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Ismayilova herself supported the petition, calling the arguments of the trial court erroneous and discriminatory, referring to the Mammadov case. “He stole a lot of money. I did not steal. This man committed an official crime, but a criminal record was taken from him … I do not understand the logic of the court. We believe that Mammadov needs more correction,” said Ismayilova.
She called on the court to withdraw her criminal record and ensure her freedom of movement. However, the court rejected the application and the complaint itself. Ismayilova intends to file a cassation appeal with the Supreme Court.
* The famous journalist Ismayilova was arrested in December 2014 and sentenced to 7.5 years in prison on charges of economic crimes. In May 2016, the Supreme Court replaced her with a real term of 3.5 years on probation, with a trial period of five years.
In August 2016, the Baku Court of Appeal reduced the suspended sentence to 2 years and 3 months, leaving the trial period unchanged.
The term of the sentence has expired, and most of the probationary period, which is calculated from November 25, 2015, has expired. With this in mind, Ismayilova insists on removing her criminal record.
The probationary period obliges Ismayilov to be monthly noted in the Department of Execution and Probation of the Binagadi district and prohibits her from traveling abroad.