On September 5, the Khatai district court of Baku sentenced Gulnara Rahimova, a member of the Party of People’s Front of Azerbaijan, to 460 hours of community service.
The court found her guilty under Articles 147.2 (slander of committing a serious crime) and 148 (insult) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. Rahimova was punished due to a complaint filed against her as a private criminal charge by an employee of the Nasimi district police department, sergeant Seymour Imanov.
The reason for the complaint was the publication by Rahimova on August 11 of a photo of the police sergeant on facebook indicating that Imanov was among the security forces who beat Aziz Mamiev, a young activist of the Musavat Party after latter’ being detained at a protest rally on July 20 demanding “Open land borders.”
Rahimova denied the accusation as saying that she did not insult the police officer, but just shared his photo indicating that he was among the policemen who beat Mamiev.
Speaking in court as a witness, the activist confirmed that Imanov was among the police officers who beat him.
Rahimova considered the verdict politically motivated and intends to appeal.
The accusing verdict of Ragimova was also condemned by the leader of the PPFA Ali Kerimli.
“Punishing innocent people follows from the repressive nature of this regime. Gulnara Rahimova is being punished as a member of the PPFA for actively participating in protests, criticizing the authorities on social networks. The law enforcement agencies should not be involved in suppressing protest voices of citizens. The police should not interfere in politics,” Kerimli said.
Rahimova’s lawyer, Zibeida Sadygova, also stated that the verdict was unjustified.
“The court should not have taken this complaint into production at all. There were no signs of slander and insults in Rahimova’s publication. She only stated what she witnessed,” the lawyer pointed out, noting that the photo of the policeman was taken from open sources.
Private prosecutor Imanov was not available for comment.