[Update] On September 5, a local court sentenced Rahimova to 460hours of community service. Rahimova’s lawyer said they will be appealing the decision.
Gulnara Rahimova is a member of the opposition Popular Front party. On August 11, Rahimova shared a Facebook post in which she described how she was unlawfully detained while on her way to a protest on July 19. Together with Rahimova was another activist, Aziz Mamiyev who was beaten by the police during detention. The two were among several other activists detained by the police that day. “Today I have obtained the picture of one of the law enforcement officers involved in the beating [of Mamiyev]. I am sharing it so that everybody sees him,” wrote Rahimova. The officer in question has filed a complaint against Rahimova, on charges of slander and insult based on that Facebook post.
Rahimova said in her defense that the post she shared on Facebook was not insulting or slanderous and that the charges and the accusation brought by the police officer are to silence her activism. According to Turan News Agency, Rahimova is an outspoken critic of the state and has faced persecution before.
A non-governmental organization “Line of Defense” said in an interview with Turan News Agency there was nothing slanderous in the Facebook post the political activist shared. “And she holds no responsibility over comments, that were made in response to her Facebook post,” told Turan News Agency, member of the organization, Zafara Akhmedova.
On August 24, during the preliminary hearing, a local court accepted the police officer’s complaint as a private criminal charge against Gulnara Rahimova. Moreover, her charges were aggravated. Thus, article 147 (slander) was reclassified to 147.2 (slander of a serious crime), which could land Rahimova up to a 3-year prison sentence.