Deputy Editor of “Yukselish Namine” newspaper, serving one-year corrective labour
ROLE: Deputy Editor of “Yukselish Namine” (In the Name of Ascent), a newspaper previously published in Sumgait city until it was forced to close in 2014 and now continues to publish online (yukselis.info). Elchin is also a member of an opposition political party “Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan” (PFPA) and deputy head of the NGO “Legal Education of Sumgait Youth”.
FOCUS: Politics, opposition. Prior to his arrest, Hasanov was the author of several publications on the issue of corruption and embezzlement in the Azerbaijani army.
ARRESTED: Was under house arrest from May 2016 till 1 June 2016.
CHARGE: Initially charged with “hooliganism committed with the application of a weapon or objects, used as a weapon” under article 221.3 of the Criminal Code, which carries a maximum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment, the charges were later reclassified to hooliganism (article 221.1) bearing a lesser punishment of up to one year of imprisonment.
CONVICTED: On 1 June 2016, Nizami District Court sentenced Hasanov to one year of corrective labour with a punitive deduction of 20 percent of his monthly salary. On 27 July 2016, the Baku Court of Appeal upheld this decision at the court of first instance.
CASE DETAILS: The criminal case is related to an incident that took place in 2015, when after being the target of a smear campaign, Hasanov met with one of the campaign’s organisers, the former head of the news agency “Asiya”, to ask him to bring it to an end. During the meeting Hasanov was attacked by this person both verbally and physically, as attested in a medical certificate issued at the time. Hasanov reported the attack to the police. On 3 March 2016, however, Hasanov was called to the General Directorate for Combating Organised Crime, where he was himself charged with hooliganism. He was forced to sign a statement of non-disclosure of information about the case, in order to ensure the confidentiality of the investigative process. On 1 June 2016, Hasanov was sentenced to one year of corrective labour with a punitive deduction of 20 percent of his monthly salary. Both the prosecution and defence appealed against this decision. The prosecution asked the court to reclassify the charges from “hooliganism” to “hooliganism committed with the application of a weapon or subjects, used as a weapon” and to toughen the punishment to 3.5 years imprisonment, while the defence demanded his acquittal. On 27 July 2016, the Baku Court of Appeal rejected both appeals and upheld the verdict of Nizami District Court.
CURRENT STATUS: Serving a one year term of corrective labour and paying punitive damages worth 20 percent of his salary.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: According to Hasanov, his unexpected transformation from victim to accused is connected to the recent publication of his article exposing corruption within the Government related to the selling of goods reserved for army needs on the black market in Azerbaijan. The dramatic change in the case is likely to be specifically related to his post on Facebook on 28 February  in which he shared information and a photo illustrating how canned meat intended for the sole use of soldiers was being sold illegally. “These canned goods were sent to me from Siyazan region by my friend. According to him, they were being sold in the market. On the labels of the canned goods it was written that their sale was prohibited. My friends made it clear that the criminal case “went forward” exactly because of this publication”, – said Hasanov.
The newspaper was published in Sumgait city several times a week with a circulation of 2000 copies from 2005-2014. However, from the middle of 2014 following the imposition of new restrictions on receiving funds from foreign donor its funding sources dried up, the newspaper was forced to stop as a print publication and go online only.
Compiled by ARTICLE 19 from a variety of sources. Current as of 29/07/2016.