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Reporters Without Borders Shocked by Verdict on Hilal Mamedov

The Reporters Without Borders strongly condemned the verdict against Hilal Mamedov sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment in Baku.


" This verdict is shocking and shows what Hilal Mamedov experienced during the year, while he was under arrest," said the organization.


Pressure and procedural violations, violation of the right to defense, unworthy conditions of detention - all this is the political nature of the trial and revenge for criticism.


If the word "justice" has any meaning in Azerbaijan, the appellate court should overturn the verdict on Hilal Mamedov and he should be released, the statement said .


The Baku Court of Grave Crimes found the journalist guilty of "illicit drugs", "ethnic hatred" and "treason." His lawyers plan to appeal, but Hilal Mamedov has already announced that he would not seek a pardon.


His case is much like that of his predecessor as head of the Tolyshi Sado, Novruzali Mamedov sentenced to 10 years in prison for "espionage" in 2008 . A year later, he died in prison due to the poor conditions.


Condemnation of Hilal Mamedov, against a background of strong degradation of freedom of information in Azerbaijan, is on the eve of the presidential election on October 9.


Persecution for criticism in the media has intensified in Azerbaijan in recent weeks. Azerbaijan is on the 156th place in the world ranking of press freedom, according to the Reporters Without Borders .


The statement also noted that on 11 September, the Supreme Court upheld the verdict against the editor of the newspaper Khural, Avaz Zeynally.


On September 17, the journalist Parviz Hashimli was arrested on charges of smuggling weapons from Iran. He faces up to eight years in prison.




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