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Babak region resident sentenced to 18 months in prison for defamation

(IRFS/IFEX) - On 3 December 2008, during a hearing conducted in the Nakhchivan City Court, 58-year-old Novruz Aliyev, a resident of the village of Gahab, in the Babak region, was found guilty of defamation under article 147.2 of the Republic of Azerbaijan Criminal Code. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison. The lawsuit against Aliyev was brought by Ahmad Ahmadov, the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic's interior minister.

According to his relatives, Aliyev had been receiving a pension for ten years due to his diabetes condition. After his pension was discontinued two years ago, Aliyev wrote a letter of complaint to the president of Azerbaijan and other relevant bodies about Azer Alakbarov, the former social services minister. A few days before the presidential elections on 15 October, Interior Minister Ahmadov called Aliyev and demanded that he withdraw the complaint. When Aliyev refused to comply with the request, he was detained by the Interior Ministry for five days. After he was freed, Aliyev wrote another letter of complaint to the president and to other bodies, this time against Interior Minister Ahmadov. On 3 December, he was summoned to court. When he did not return home in the evening after his court appearance his relatives became concerned. They found out the next morning that he had been arrested.

Although 26 days have passed since Aliyev's arrest, his relatives have not been allowed to visit him. Aliyev's family, who cannot afford to hire a lawyer, have not been able to file an appeal in the case.

"Novruz Aliyev wrote complaint letters to different addresses about the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic's Interior Minister," the chairman of the Nakhchivan City Court told IRFS. "He accused the minister under 16 articles of the Criminal Code; nine of the accusations are grave crimes and one is an especially grave crime. Novruz Aliyev was found guilty under article 147.2 and given a 1.5 year prison sentence for slander and libel against a high-ranking official. No one has hindered him from filing an appeal."

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