05 August 2019, 21:30
Azerbaijani oppositionist Azad Gasanov set free
Azad Gasanov, an activist of the "Musavat" Party, was found guilty of illegal drug dealing, but was released after the court mitigated his punishment. Gasanov himself has treated the verdict as unfair.
The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that Azad Gasanov, a political emigrant, was arrested on October 12, 2018, after returning to Azerbaijan from Lithuania. He has stated that he had agreed with the accusation of illegal drug dealing under the threat of torture. On July 22, 2019, Gasanov announced a hunger strike in protest of the delay of his trial; however, on July 29, the court session was again postponed.
Rights defenders have declared Azad Gasanov to be a political prisoner.
At today's session, the Baku Court of Grave Crimes was considering the Azad Gasanov's case, but "suddenly the judge announced the completion of the judicial investigation," said Osman Kyazimov, Gasanov's advocate.
According to his story, the prosecutor suggested to re-qualify the charge into a milder article and sentence Gasanov to 1.5 years in prison.
The advocate disagreed with the prosecutor's request and asked to justify his client.
However, the court announced a verdict after a brief consultation: Gasanov was sentenced to one year in prison. At the same time, the judge decided to include the 10 months already served in custody into the sentence. Besides, the judge replaced the remaining 2 months and 5 days of the real term by the conditional one; Gasanov was set free in the courtroom, said the advocate.
Azad Gasanov himself said in a telephone conversation that he was happy with the release, but disagreed with the verdict. "I think it's unfair. I didn't break any laws, especially since I have nothing to do with narcotic drugs. The charge was awkward and absurd," Gasanov told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.
This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on August 5, 2019 at 04:25 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.
Author: Faik Medzhid; Source: CK correspondent