Elchin Ismayilli, a political activist and journalist in Azerbaijan’s Ismayilli District, who had been charged with extortion and abuse of power in February, faces at least ten years in prison after the prosecutor’s office changed the charge to bribery. The court hearing is set for 24 August. Ismayilli pleads innocent. [Read more…]
On 12 July 2017, Georgia’s Constitutional Court declared the country’s ban on men who have sex with men donating blood unconstitutional. Georgia’s Health Minister banned blood donation for gay men in 2000.
On 13 July, Moscow City District Court concluded the trial of five Chechen-born men accused of murdering Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov. All were found guilty and sentenced to 11–19 years in prison.
On 25 June, the Zavodsky District Court of Grozny sentenced a citizen of Georgia, Beslan Gaurgashvili, to three years in a penal colony for participating in the war in Syria on the side of the Islamic State.
It is no secret that the courts in Russia fail to maintain their independence from the government. This is perhaps most acute of all if Chechnya, where the republic’s leadership have waged a war on the judiciary, and trumped-up cases are brought against anyone who says or does ‘the wrong thing’ in public.
The trial of Chechen writer Rizvan Ibragimov began on 5 May in the Oktyabrsky District Court of Grozny. The court of first instance deemed his writings on the origins of the Chechen people to be ‘extremist’. The latest hearing is being held after the writer’s defence filed an appeal.
On 6 March, the Sovetsky District Court of Makhachkala dismissed the lawsuit of Magomed Gadzhiyev, a member of the public council at the city’s Tanghim Mosque, against the Sovetsky District’s Department of Internal Affairs (ROVD). Gadzhiyev was trying to find out whether or not he was included on the ‘preventive supervision list’ (profuchot), which imposes restrictions on freedom of movement.
Seventeen non-governmental organisations in Georgia have issued a joint statement criticising the Supreme Court’s decision to transfer ownership of TV channel Rustavi 2’s to former owner Kibar Khalvashi. They state that the decision damages not only Georgia’s democratic development, but limits freedom of the media, a pluralistic media environment, and threatens the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration.