National Council and the Musavat Party activist Tofig Yagublu, who had been sentenced to 4 years and 3 months in prison, has had his sentenced suspended. The decision was made on 15 July at the Baku Court of Appeal, chaired by Judge Elmar Rahimov.
The court first considered two appeals addressed by Tofig Yagublu in the last 15 days. The political activist could not visit his mother, who was in critical condition in Georgia, because she was under house arrest. On 30 June, he appealed to the court to allow him to leave the country temporarily for this purpose. However, his appeal was not answered and his mother passed away on 12 July. On the same day, Tofig Yagublu again appealed to the court to at least be allowed to attend the funeral. However, there was still no answer.
After this, both the prosecutor and the defense attorneys made their remarks.
The prosecutor proposed to change the verdict of the Nizami District Court on Tofig Yagublu, taking into account his 6 months of detention and 10 months of house arrest, and to replace it with a suspended sentence.
Lawyers Agil Layij and Elchin Sadigov stressed the innocence of their client and demanded his acquittal.
Tofig Yagublu himself stressed that he was arrested as a result of provocation: “I said from the first day that if you want to know the truth, look at the images on my phone. The investigator, on the contrary, deleted those images. It is clear that this case was set up to arrest me… ”
The political activist recalled that on 15 July, the European Court fined the Azerbaijani government for another illegal act committed against him years ago: “The time will come, so they will have to answer”.
After a brief discussion, the judges decided to amend Tofig Yagublu’s sentence and replace it with 2 and a half years of probation.
Yagublu stated that he does not agree with this decision and will appeal to the Supreme Court.
Tofig Yagublu was arrested on 22 March 2020 on charges of hooliganism.
On 3 September 2020, the Nizami District Court sentenced Tofig Yagublu to 4 years and 3 months in prison on this charge. Yagublu went on hunger strike in protest and as condition worsened, he was transferred from the pre-trial detention center to a clinic. On 18 September 2020, he was released on house arrest. His case was one of the most significant stories in Azerbaijan in 2020 until war with neighboring Armenia broke out just nine days afterwards.