Case No. 69981/14
Judgment date: 17 March 2016
Rasul Jafarov, the applicant, is a prominent civil society activist in Azerbaijan and the Chairman of Human Rights Club (“HRC”), a human rights NGO. The applicant was represented by EHRAC and Mr Khalid Bagirov, a lawyer based in Baku.
On 22 April 2014, the Prosecutor General’s Office instituted criminal proceedings under Articles 308.1 (abuse of power) and 313 (forgery by an official) of the Criminal Code in connection with alleged irregularities in the financial activities of a number of NGOs. On 2 August 2014, against this background, the applicant was arrested at the Prosecutor’s Office and detained on charges including illegal entrepreneurship, large-scale tax evasion, and abuse of power. In December 2014, he was also charged with high-level embezzlement. In January 2015, the applicant’s trial began. In the same month, the lawyer representing him had his licence to practice law suspended, which prevented him from having effective communication with his client. In April 2015, the applicant was convicted and sentenced to six and a half years in prison, deprived of the right to hold official positions and the right to engage in entrepreneurial activity for a period of three years.