Rashad Hasanov and others v Azerbaijan
Case Nos. 48653/13 et al.
Date of Judgment: 7 June 2018
The four applicants were members of NIDA, a civic movement that seeks liberty, justice, truth and change in Azerbaijan through peaceful means. In March and April 2013, they were arrested and charged for allegedly obtaining 22 Molotov cocktails and supplying them to two other NIDA members, who had been arrested earlier in March. Despite the different dates of the applicants’ arrests, the wording of the charges was identical. An expert report, prepared as part of the investigation, concluded that only two devices were explosive, yet the prosecution did not alter the charges. The applicants denied all the charges, claiming that their arrests were politically motivated and that there was no evidence against them. The applicants’ pre-trial detention was extended on different occasions. On 6 May 2014, the Baku Court of Serious Crimes found the applicants guilty on all counts and sentenced them to prison terms of between 7 and 8 years. The applicants were released by presidential decree on 29 December 2014 (second and third applicants) and 17 March 2016 (first and fourth applicants).