The Baku Court of Grave Crimes today read out the verdict to the chief editor of basta2.com, Mustafa Hajibeiliyu. The Court found him guilty under articles 309 (abuse of office), 313 (forgery) and 281 (appeals against the state) of the Criminal Code.
At the same time, taking into account the participation of Hajibeyli in the Karabakh war and his being in the care of minor children, the court applied article 70 of the Criminal Code on conditional punishment. As a result, the court sentenced the journalist to 5.5 years” imprisonment with a 2-year probation period. This means that if during 2 years Hajibeyli does not commit “new crimes”, then the term of punishment will be considered fully served.
Before the announcement of the verdict, the journalist made a closing statement. He called the criminal case illegal and unreasonable.
Hajibeyli called it absurd the representation of him as an official and his accusation of official misconduct.
“I have not only a position, but even a workplace. The Constitutional Court, at the request of the prosecutor’s office, determined the list of officials, and the journalists were not included there,” said Hajibeyli.
He asked to acquit him and punish the guilty people who doomed him to 7 months of jail and misery.
Hajibeyli noted that he will always remain a fighter for freedom of speech.
The defense intends to appeal the verdict.
* On July 9, 2018, the Prosecutor General”s Office opened a criminal case on the dissemination to the Internet of “false information” and “illegal appeals” in connection with the attempt on the head of Ganja Elmar Veliyev and the energy blackout in Mingachevir, when almost all of Azerbaijan was left without power supply.
After that, the prosecutor’s office appealed to the Ministry of Communications to block the sites basta2.com, Criminalaz.com, Topxeber.az and Fia.az.
At first, Hajibeyli passed as a witness. However, on November 30, he was transferred to the status of the accused. In particular, he was charged under the Criminal Code: 281.2 (appeals against the state), 309.2 (abuse of office) and 313 (official forgery).
Regarding the editor, a preventive measure was chosen in the form of a program under police supervision. He denied all the charges.
Today”s court decision in the case of basta.info is illegal, said
the editor of this site, Mustafa Hajibeyli, whom the court sentenced to 5 and a half years in prison conditionally. “I should have been acquitted, and the criminal case should be closed for lack of grounds. Neither the investigation, nor his witnesses could presented my guilt, all our petitions were rejected. Most importantly, the investigation did not explain in any way exactly which phrases in our articles are against the law,” the editor said. “The decision of the court will be appealed, although we do not expect justice from our courts, then there will be an appeal to other courts and so on until the European Court of Human Rights,” he said.
How will this verdict affect his journalistic activities? Answering this question, the editor said that today the Azerbaijani Prosecutor”s Office is actually acting as a censor over the press. A special service has been created in the prosecutor”s office, which is engaged in spying on publications on the Internet and on websites. The authors of all objectionable publications are under pressure and persecuted. They are called and demanded to stop criticism, and criminal cases are initiated against those who do not agree. Similar processes are going against a number of other sites and their authors. “I”m not the only one who faced this kind of pressure. Despite this, I will continue my journalistic activities and the fight for freedom of speech, “the editor said.