On Friday last week, a Baku court found well-known Azerbaijani lawyer Aslan Ismayilov guilty of hooliganism and sentenced him to one year of correctional labor. He will only receive 80% of his income and, in addition, has to pay a fine of ₼1,500 ($880).
Back in October 2017, following an unsuccessful attempt to file a defamation lawsuit against the head of the Modern Musavat Party and pro forma presidential candidate during the 2018 elections, Hafiz Hajiyev, Ismayilov had allegedly insulted the judge and chairman of the Binagadi District Court and slammed a door so hard that it broke.
Ismayilov criticized the verdict as groundless and based on trumped-up charges, arguing that the real reason behind it was to punish him for uncovering illegal activities of government officials:
‘This is not the first criminal case against me, and as long as we have our current system of governance, it won’t be the last. The first criminal case against me was launched in 1996, and there have been many more since. I’m not even mentioning the times I have been suspended from practicing law. All of this has one intention, to stop me from uncovering and talking about what is happening in this country. But despite the pressure I can’t just ignore the illegal activities around me.’