14 May 2012, 23:10

Nakhichevan court replaces Bagirzade's prison for conditional punishment

Today, the Supreme Court of the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic (NAR) has completed considering the appeal lodged by the oppositional activist Zeynal Bagirzade accused of falsifying documents and illegally receiving pension. Judge Ilgar Mirzoev has amended the verdict of first instance court and replaced a significant term of imprisonment for a suspended (conditional) sentence. Bagirzade was released in the courtroom.

At the today's session, the Supreme Court of the NAR has cancelled the Bagirzade's charge under Article 310 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. With respect to the other two articles - 178.3.2 and 320.2 - the judge has applied Article 70, assuming a conditional sentencing, said Malakhat Nasibova, the head of the Regional Resource Centre for NGOs and Democracy Progress.

As a result, the sentence of the first instance court of 7.5 years of imprisonment was replaced for Bagirzade's same conditional term. Four years of this term have been defined as the probation period (during which the convict should prove his correction by his behaviour, - note of the "Caucasian Knot").

"By making this decision, the judge took into account the fact that Bagirzade's relatives had paid the established monetary sanction of 18,700 manats for his allegedly illegally obtained pension for 18 years," Malakhat Nasibova told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

She recalled the difficult financial situation of Zeynal Bagirzade's family, adding that the money was raised by his relatives and fellow villagers - residents of the village of Nekhram, Babak District of the NAR.

After the announcement of the verdict, Bagirzade was released right in the courtroom.

Zeynal Bagirzade said in his comment on the decision of the court that he was happy to regain freedom; however, he still considers himself to be innocent.

He announced his intention to lodge an appeal to the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan. He plans to seek a full acquittal and return of the recovered huge sum of money. "I will fight to the end for restoration of my rights. If I fail to do it at Azerbaijani courts, I'll file a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights," said Bagirzade.

He complained about his poor health condition, in particular, disorders of his nervous system, poor functioning of the left arm and leg, slow speech, high arterial blood pressure, diabetes and gallbladder disease. Bagirzade said that he was exposed to physical and moral pressure during his custody.

According to the activist, while kept at the SIZO (pre-trial prison), he received no treatment and got some medical care only when he felt very bad.

The activist is convinced that he was arrested for political reasons, especially because of his active struggle against abuses of local bureaucrats, who, as he says, refused to give water to irrigate fields in Nekhram last summer. Bagirzade recalled that because of his protests against this tyranny, his brother Yashar Bagirsoy and he had been arrested for a few days.

The prosecution party was unavailable for comments.

Author: Faik Medzhid; Source: CK correspondent

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