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Azerbaijani Policeman Says Conviction Linked To European Case

Police officer Emin Ahmadbayov on trial in a Baku court in February.
Police officer Emin Ahmadbayov on trial in a Baku court in February.
An Azerbaijani policeman jailed for "inflicting damage" on a fellow police officer says his prison sentence is linked to a case he has filed at the European Court of Human Rights, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Major Emin Ahmadbayov was sentenced on March 31 in Baku to three years in prison for damaging the uniform of a policeman who stopped him for allegedly violating traffic regulations while driving his patrol car in December.

Ahmadbayov said his arrest was politically motivated because he had filed a lawsuit against the Interior Ministry at the European court in Strasbourg. His lawyer, Namiq Haciyev, told RFE/RL on March 30 that they will appeal the verdict.

A witness, Hacar Mammadova, testified in court that she saw the incident from her apartment window. She said the policeman stopped Ahmadbayov, took his mobile phone and identification papers from him, and then started hitting him.

Mammadova added that the policeman tore the epaulettes from his police uniform before getting back in his car and driving away.

The charge against Ahmadbayov for "inflicting damage" on the officer was based on a police report that he had torn the epaulettes from the policeman's uniform.

'Defending His Rights'

The case with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg was filed due to Ahmadbayov being fired as a policeman in 2003 after a dispute with the boss of his wife, who worked at the Interior Ministry.

But Ahmadbayov appealed to President Ilham Aliyev and, after a meeting with Interior Minister Ramil Usubov, was given his job back in 2006 and his wife's boss was fired.

Ahmadbayov then demanded he be paid compensation for the three years he was unable to work for the police, but his lawsuit was rejected by the courts.

The rejection led Ahmadbayov to file a case against the Interior Ministry with the Strasbourg court. He has also appealed his case to Aliyev.

Ahmadbayov insists he is being jailed for simply defending his rights.