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Rape suspect accused of hacking computer and harassing victim during trial

1 July 2022
Sanay Yaghmur (left) with two other activists protesting outside the Baku Court of Grave Crimes on 29 June. The banner reads: ‘we demand justice’.

A man accused of raping Azerbaijani public activist Sanay Yaghmur in 2020, when she was 17 years old, has been accused by Yaghmur and her family of conducting a campaign of harassment during the trial.

The case has sparked an outcry in Azerbaijan, as Yaghmur revealed that despite reporting the crime to the police, the regional prosecutor refused to open a criminal case. Only after the public outcry was the case reopened on appeal and 30-year-old Asgar Aghazade (formerly Aghayev) arrested.

Since the trial began in January, Sanay and her mother, Zumrud Yaghmur, have accused Aghazade and his family of repeated harassment. 

The trial remains closed to the public and to the press.

Yaghmur’s lawyer, Zibeyde Zekeriyyeyeva, told OC Media that the suspect had openly admitted to hacking into Sanay Yaghmur’s computer in a hearing on 22 June.

She said that despite the illegality of this, the judge did not react to the admission.

In an interview with pro-government news site Axar on 28 June, Surayya Aghazade, the mother of the accused, said she had obtained video footage of Yaghmur proving she was ‘married’ to a woman in Turkey. She did not say how she supposedly obtained the video or how it was relevant to the case.

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Yaghmur has expressed fears that the court will deny her justice.

‘The procedure is still ongoing. How the trial will end and how many years the public prosecutor will ask remains a question’, she told OC Media. ‘But we will continue to fight for a fair decision.’

The next hearing is scheduled for 13 July.