Mirgadirov v. Azerbaïdjan and Turkey, (Application no. 62775/14)

A selection of key paragraphs can be found below the judgment.


Article 5. 

81. (…) the Court notes that (…)the only particular pieces of evidence to which they expressly referred were video-recordings of what were alleged to have been meetings between the applicant and representatives of foreign intelligence services and his receipt of money from them. Without speculating on the content of those video-recordings or their relevance to the particular case, the Court observes that it does not appear from theNasimiDistrict Court’s decision of 21 April 2014 or any other decision of the domestic courts ordering and extending the applicant’s pre-trial detention that any video-recording was ever submitted to the courts, since the domestic courts’ decisions did not refer to that kind of material (see and compare Yagublu v. Azerbaijan, no. 31709/13, § 60, 5 November 2015, and Rustamzade v. Azerbaijan, no. 38239/16, § 47, 7 March 2019).  

83. Furthermore, the Court cannot overlook the fact that although in a statement dated 17 July 2014 the investigating authorities referred to the existence of alleged Internet correspondence between the applicant and L.B. as a new relevant fact demonstrating that the applicant had committed the criminal offence of high treason (see paragraph 41 above), none of the domestic court decisions extending the applicant’s pre-trial detention after 17 July 2014 ever referred to the existence of such correspondence as confirmation that there was a reasonable suspicion that the applicant had committed the criminal offence of high treason.

85. The Court is mindful of the fact that the applicant’s case went to trial and he was convicted. However, that does not affect its findings in connection with the present complaint, where it is called upon to examine whether the disputed deprivation of the applicant’s liberty was justified on the basis of the information or facts available at the relevant time. In this connection, having regard to the above analysis, the Court finds that the material put before it does not meet the minimum standard set by Article 5 § 1 (c) of the Convention for the reasonableness of a suspicion required for an individual’s arrest and continued detention. Accordingly, it has not been demonstrated in a satisfactory manner that during the period under the Court’s consideration in the present case the applicant was deprived of his liberty on “reasonable suspicion” of having committed a criminal offence.

Article 8 

115. As is well established in the Court’s case-law, upon being imprisoned, a person forfeits the right to liberty, but continues to enjoy all other fundamental rights and freedoms (…) 

122. Turning to the circumstances of the present case, the Court observes at the outset that although the investigator’s decision of 7 May 2014 was a decision “restricting some of the accused’s rights at [his] place of detention” (see paragraph 29 above), it appears from the nature and scope of the measures imposed by the investigator that the decision amounted to ade factooutright ban on the applicant having any contact (meetings, telephone calls or correspondence) with the outside world, except for contact with his lawyers. However, neither the investigator nor the domestic courts put forward any relevant justification in support of the imposition of such harsh and all-encompassing measures. In particular, the domestic authorities confined themselves to referring to the necessity to protect the confidentiality of the investigation and prevent the disclosure of information about the investigation, without providing any explanation as to why the impugned measures were appropriate and necessary in the present case. They also failed to refer to any factual element or information indicating that there was a risk that the confidentiality of the investigation would be undermined or that information about the investigation would be disclosed if the impugned measures were not taken. 

124. The foregoing considerations are sufficient to enable the Court to conclude that the reasons given by the domestic authorities in support of the restriction of the applicant’s rights were not relevant and sufficient


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