Friday, July 09, 2010

Playing independent judiciary in Bauerntheater

"Sensation" (A Soviet theatre poster)
Top Azeri Justice from the Supreme Court has stated that jailed editor-in-chief Eynulla Fatullayev's new prison term was delivered with procedural violations. 

This shocking news was reported on 8 July 2010 - by Mediaforum, a respected news website in Azerbaijan.

Besides, Justice Muzaffar Agazade told that the European Court of Human Rights decision about Eynulla Fatullayev hadn't reached the Supreme Court yet, thus he didn't know when it would be reviewed.

Needless to say, this extraordinary news landed me in Google - I wanted to know who this person was.

Well - first his bio. Working in courts since 1958, in Supreme Court since 1990. Old bureaucrat. If this guy could survive in Soviet and Azeri courts for 52 years, it means he was enough faithful to his telephone. He wouldn't make such a statement without prior consent or order from above.

And there were two interesting details - first, he is 71 and according to Azeri law, a judge should retire when he reaches 70; and second, the very same judge, Muzaffar Agazade had reviewed Appeal Court's decision about Fatullayev case and kept it intact in 2008!

And there was a final surprise awaiting me - I looked at the website of the Supreme Court and found out that Justice Muzaffar Agazade was sent to retirement with honours in a ceremony held on 2 July 2010.

Six days before he stated that the European Court decision about Fatullayev hadn't reached the Supreme Court and he didn't know when it would be reviewed.

Six days after his official retirement, he still speaks as if he is a Supreme Court judge.

What is this - journalist's or editor's error? Marasmus senilis? Or playing independent judiciary in Bauerntheater?

Justice Agazade sent to retirement (photo from the Supreme Court website)

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