Editor-in-Chief of online site, imprisoned since 25 November 2016
ROLE: Editor-in-Chief of online news website realliq.info
FOCUS: Journalism, anti-corruption
CURRENT STATUS: Imprisoned on one year jail sentence
CONVICTED: On 25 November 2016, Sumgayit City Court sentenced Rahimov to one-year imprisonment. Having not been held in pre-trial detention, he was arrested from the court room.
CHARGE: Article 147.2 (libel that involves accusing someone of a serious or especially serious crime) of the Criminal Code
CASE DETAILS: On 25 November 2016, Sumgayit City Court sentenced Ikram Rahimov, along with another individual, Rahman Novruzov, to one year in jail on libel charges. The conviction followed a criminal investigation into libel, launched against both persons after Rahimov published an online article about bribery and tax evasion by local authorities, based on information provided by Novruzov.
In violation of criminal procedure, after being convicted by the court, Rahimov was not taken to prison but was instead transferred to the Sumqayit Police Department, where he was held incommunicado and allegedly subjected to torture for three days. According to Rahimov’s lawyer, the police demanded that Rahimov apologise on camera to one of the individuals mentioned in the article for which he was convicted. After Rahimov refused to do so, they allegedly tortured him and subjected him to cruel and degrading treatment, resulting in Rahimov incurring a head injury. Rahimov was held in the police department until his wound healed, after which he was transferred to the Detention Facility No.3 where his lawyer met with him on 30 November 2016.
The lawyer said that he would appeal to the Prosecutor General Office on torture allegations.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Rahman Salman oglu Novruzov, the source of information that Rahimov relied on when writing the article, was also tried together with Rahimov on the same libel charges. He also received one year in prison on 25 November 2016 by the Sumgayit City Court.
The article in question described how a chain of local shopping centres “En Ujuz” evaded taxes and paid bribes to local authorities, in particular to Sumgayit City Executive Power chief Zakir Farajov, in return of being able to continue their illegal activities.