On March 2, blogger Elchin Hasanzade and activist actor Ibrahim Salamov were sentenced to eight months in prison on accounts of slander and insult of the Criminal Code by the Sheki Court of Appeals.
The two men are accused of criticizing a man named Shahriyar Mustafayev, who heads the Housing Department of the city of Mingachevir in their articles and social media posts. Both men, claim the allegations are bogus and that they are being punished for exposing the arbitrariness of Mingachevir city officials instead.
Blogger Elchin Hasanzade, who has worked with some of the local papers in the city of Sumgayit, prior to his temporary relocation to Mingachevir, claims he was kicked out of an apartment he lived, in Mingachevir because of his criticisms against local officials online. And that it is the head of the city administration who is behind their arrest.
The head of the housing department refutes the claims in the meantime.
The case dates back to November 2020, when the head of the housing department appealed to the local court. At the time, both men were sentenced to one year of correctional labor. The private prosecutor was dissatisfied with the verdict and appealed against the aggravation of Hasanzadeh’s and Turksoy’s sentences.
Correction: the previous version of this article referred to Ibrahim Salamov as an activist. Salamov is also a theater actor at the Mingachevir State Drama Theater.