Editor-in-Chief of online news site, detained since 30 June 2016
ROLE: Editor-in-Chief of Internet news website (jam.az). JAM stands for Center for Investigative Reporting
FOCUS: Journalism, focused on official and commercial misconduct
CURRENT STATUS: Held in pre-trial detention
CHARGE: Extortion (under article 182 of the Criminal Code).
CASE DETAILS: Police detained Faramazoglu on 30 June 2016 at his home. On 2 July 2016, the Narimanov District Court of Baku sentenced Faramazoglu to four months pre-trial detention on charges of extortion by means of threats (under art. 182.1 of the Criminal Code), punishable by up to five years imprisonment.
On 18 October 2016, new charges of extortion by means of threats by a group of persons acting in conspiracy (art. 182.2.1), committing the same act repeatedly (art. 182.2.2), and committing the same act causing significant damage to the victim (art. 182.2.4) were brought against Faramazoglu. He now faces up to ten years in prison, and confiscation of property.
The charges stem from an allegation made by a local restaurant owner that Faramazoglu extorted money from him to remove defamatory articles about the restaurant from websites owned by the journalist. Faramazoglu denies the accusations and says that he is being persecuted for his professional activities.
On 25 October 2016, the Narimanov District Court of Baku extended the term of pre-trial detention for an additional three months. On 7 September 2016, the Court dismissed a motion to replace the detention with a house arrest.
According to his lawyer, Faramazoglu was subject to torture while in detention, resulting in several of his teeth being knocked out. His lawyer filed a complaint requesting an investigation into the torture allegations to the Sabail District Court of Baku; however, this was rejected by the court, and no medical examination of Faramazoglu has been permitted.
Famazoglu’s lawyer plans to submit a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights, claiming violations of Article 3 (prohibition of torture), Article 5 (right to liberty and security), Article 10 (freedom of expression) and Article 18, which states that any restrictions on the rights and freedoms permitted by the convention “shall not be applied for any purpose other than those for which they have been prescribed”.
Three hearings have taken place at the Baku Serious Crimes Court on 6 December 2016; 15 December 2016; and on 27 December 2016. Faramazoglu has pleaded innocent to all charges.
The next court hearing is scheduled for 13 January 2016.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Faramazoglu has previously been subject to pressure and harassment by the authorities in Azerbaijan. Ten years ago, while working as chief editor of the well-known opposition newspaper, “24 Saat” (24 hours), he was prosecuted for alleged defamatory libel against the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan. The court gave him a one year suspended sentence.
Compiled by ARTICLE 19 from a variety of sources. Current as of 09/01/2017.