Case of European Court of Human Rights, May 22, 2014 (case Ilgar Mammadov v. Azerbaijan)

Resolution Date:May 22, 2014
SUMMARY

Remainder inadmissible Violation of Article 5 - Right to liberty and security (Article 5-1 - Lawful arrest or detention Article 5-1-c - Reasonable suspicion) Violation of Article 5 - Right to liberty and security (Article 5-4 - Review of lawfulness of detention) Violation of Article 6 - Right to a fair trial (Article 6-2 - Presumption of innocence) Violation of Article 18+5 - Limitation on use of ... (see full summary)

 
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Information Note on the Court’s case-law No. 174

May 2014

Ilgar Mammadov v. Azerbaijan - 15172/13

Judgment 22.5.2014 [Section I]

Article 18

Restrictions for unauthorised purposes

Restriction of applicant’s liberty for purposes other than bringing him before competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence: violation

Facts – The applicant, an opposition politician with a history of criticising the Government, maintained a personal internet blog on which he commented on various political issues. On 24 January 2013 he travelled to Ismayilli, a town where rioting had broken out the day before. He described his impressions in blog posts in which he suggested that at least part of the official Government version of the events may have been untrue and was an attempt at a cover-up. On the following day the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs said in a joint press statement that the applicant had committed illegal actions which were calculated to inflame the situation in the country and would be fully and thoroughly investigated and receive legal assessment. The applicant was invited for questioning on three occasions before being charged with criminal offences and remanded in custody. His appeals against that measure were rejected.

Law

Article 5 § 1 (c): The Government had not submitted any specific arguments to rebut the applicant’s assertion that there had existed no information or evidence giving rise to a “reasonable” suspicion that he had committed any of the criminal offences with which he was charged. In particular, the prosecution’s official documents did not mention any witness statements or other specific information that might have given them reason to suspect the applicant, nor had any such evidence been presented to the courts which ordered the applicant’s remand in custody. The vague and general references by both the prosecution and the courts in their respective decisions to unspecified “case material”, in the absence of any precise statement, information or concrete complaint could not be regarded as sufficient to justify the “reasonableness” of the suspicion on which the applicant’s arrest and detention had been based.

Conclusion: violation (unanimously).

Article 6 § 2: The Court had consistently emphasised the importance of the choice of words by public officials in their statements before a person had been tried and found guilty of a particular criminal offence. In the...

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