[Updated] According to Azadliq Radio, Gambarov’s sentence was commuted on March 19 replacing the original sentence of 3.5 years with 1 year and 2 months of restricted freedom taking into account that Gambarov already served five months behind bars. The journalist will have to be home from 11 pm until 7 am. The charges were replaced from Article 221.3 (hooliganism committed with the use of a weapon or subjects) of the Criminal Code to Article 221.2.2 (hooliganism committed with resistance to representative of the authority).
February 28, regional editor for online news site anews.az Zaur Gambarov was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on alleged hooliganism charges reports Meydan TV.
Gambarov is accused of throwing a chair at the Deputy Director of the State Social Protection Fund Gadabay Branch and beating his driver. Editor’s family members claim, the allegations are bogus and that Gambarov himself was beaten and later framed.
“If the hearing was just, the court could have demanded the camera footage but they chose not to,” said Gambarov’s brother in an interview with Meydan TV.
Gambarov in his defense said the reason for his arrest and sentence were his stories about corruption among government employees in Gadabay. Specifically, Gambarov points to a report he wrote about a relative of the head of the Gadabay’s City Administration which, according to Gambarov was the final straw that triggered the arrest. According to that story, the State Social Protection Fund employed a relative of the head of the Gadabay City Administration but that the relative never went to work at the Fund.
In recent months, at least two website editors and journalists were sentenced to lengthy jail times – Polad Aslanov, and Afgan Sadigov. Both journalists have since been on hunger strike.