Published: 19 Apr 2018 | By Olga Grygorovksa
Mammadli v Azerbaijan
Case No. 47145/14
Date of Judgment: 19 April 2018
The applicant, Anar Mammadli, is a civil society activist and human rights defender who founded the NGO Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre. He has reported on the human rights situation in Azerbaijan before the Council of Europe and in cooperation with UN institutions. On 29 October 2013, criminal proceedings were initiated against the NGO due to alleged irregularities in its financial activities. On 16 December 2013, the applicant was arrested and charged with illegal entrepreneurship, tax evasion and abuse of power, based on his receipt of grant funds from the National Democratic Institute (USA) and failure to register the organisation as a legal entity. He was placed in pre-trial detention for three months, on grounds that he would re-offend and given the gravity of the charges, with no regard for his social or personal situation or the applicant’s numerous arguments as to lack of reasonable suspicion of having committed the alleged crimes. The courts dismissed his requests to be released on bail or placed under house arrest. In March, his pre-trial detention was extended until June 2014. On 26 May 2014 the Baku Court of Serious Crimes convicted Mr Mammadli and sentenced him to five and a half years’ imprisonment. He was released following a presidential pardon in 2016.
Before the ECtHR, the applicant argued that he had been deprived of his liberty, in breach of Arts. 5(1), (3) and (4) of the Convention. At the Court’s request, he also made specific submissions under Art. 18 (restriction of his Convention rights for purposes other than those prescribed in the Convention) in conjunction with Art. 5.