Parviz Hashimli, Moderator, Bizim Yol
Medium:Internet, Print
Imprisoned:September 17, 2013

Agents with the National Security Agency, or MNB, arrested Hashimli, the editor of the independent news website Moderator and a reporter for the independent newspaper Bizim Yol, outside the offices of the Moderator in Baku. The same day, agents also raided his home, without presenting a court order and in the absence of a lawyer, and claimed to have found a pistol and several hand grenades, according to news reports.

Agents also raided the newsrooms of the Moderator and Bizim Yol and confiscated their equipment, the independent news website Kavkazsky Uzel reported. Both outlets are known for coverage of corruption and human rights abuses as well as for critical reporting on the government of President Ilham Aliyev.

On September 19, 2013, the Sabail District Court in Baku ordered Hashimli imprisoned for two months pending an investigation into accusations of smuggling and the illegal possession of weapons, according to news reports. Hashimli denied the allegations.

Emin Huseynov, director of the Baku-based press freedom group Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety, told CPJ that he believed the charges against Hashimli were fabricated and that his arrest was meant to be a threat to the local press in the run-up to the October 2013 election. Aliyev was subsequently declared the winner of a third term in the voting.

Citing Hashimli's lawyer, Huseynov told CPJ that agents had orchestrated the detention of the journalist. He said that a man named Tavvakyul Gurbanov had called Hashimli to meet him outside the Moderator offices in connection with what he said was a personal matter. When Hashimli went outside and sat in Gurbanov's car, agents surrounded the vehicle and searched it. The agents claimed to have found six guns as well as ammunition. News reports said that Gurbanov said he had brought the weapons on Hashimli's request, which the journalist denied. Hashimli also denied ever having met Gurbanov before.

Gurbanov was also detained and faced similar charges, news reports said.

In November 2013, Hashimli's pretrial detention was extended for three months, according to news reports. He was held at the MNB detention facility, reports said.

On May 15, 2014, the Baku Court of Grave Crimes sentenced Hashimli to eight years in prison, the Azerbaijani service of the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported. His appeal was denied.

Hashimli was being held at Prison No. 1, outside Baku, according to an August 2014 report on political prisoners in Azerbaijan by a group of lawyers, human rights defenders, and non-governmental organizations.

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