The court obliged Khadija Ismayilova to pay 45,143 manat

Baku / 21.12.18 / Turan: On Friday the Baku Administrative and Economic Court Number 1 granted the claim of the Ministry of Taxes to the journalist Khadija Ismayilova, obliging her to pay 45,143 manat 63 gepik. The judge Mohammed Akperov announced the decision of the court orally, not retiring to the room for the meeting. The Ministry of Taxes demanded 63,138 manat of tax debt from the journalist. The journalist found the claim unreasonable and illegal, and asked the court to reject it.

"By its measures against free media the government limits my activities, and at the same time strikes at its own image. Back in 2010, we published investigations into embezzlements at the International Bank of Azerbaijan. We were then accused of slander, but now everything has been confirmed. Now the state pays foreign debts of the bank. Our investigations are not limited to the International Bank and lead to high-ranking officials," said Ismayilova. She stated that the charges against her in 2014 were also unfounded. "I was arrested in December 2014, when the aim of the government was to close the Baku bureau of Radio Azadlig, limiting my journalistic activities. Now in the Baku Administrative and Economic Court the process against me on the claim of the Ministry of Taxes has been going on for more than a year.

This is done to restrict my cooperation with international media structures. My accounts were arrested when they received funds from the prize awarded to me by international agencies. The authorities want to block all of my legitimate sources of income and encourage them to engage in illegal activities, and then accuse them of illegal business activities. I will not give them such an excuse and continue to fight for my rights, and file a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights," said the journalist.

She also indicated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan does not give her accreditation. "For this reason, I ask foreign partners not to issue fees for publications to me, and transfer the funds from the premiums to me, to charitable foundations," said Ismayilova.

She again drew the attention of the judge to the fact that as the head of the Baku bureau of Radio Azadlig she was not responsible for financial matters and had no tax obligations.

"Even if we assume that there was a tax evasion, I still did not get any profit. There is no document confirming this. Radio Azadlig is not a commercial organization and this is reflected in interstate documents. This is so in all countries where this radio operates," Ismayilova said

Ismayilova was arrested on December 5, 2014. She was later sentenced to 7.5 years in prison on charges of embezzlement, illegal business, tax evasion and abuse of authority.

On May 25, 2016, the Supreme Court commuted her sentence, replacing imprisonment with a suspended sentence of 3.5 years with a 5-year probationary period. The journalist was also dropped charges of misappropriation and abuse.

However, in November 2017, the Ministry of Taxes initiated a lawsuit against Ismayilova in the amount of 63,138 manat. She was accused of not paying taxes for 45,145 manat when she was head of the Baku bureau of Radio Azadlig (2008-2010). In addition, she was accused of not concluding labor contracts, under which employees had to pay income tax, and 4% simplified tax, and thereby caused damage to the state for 17,992 manat.

Since the Supreme Court acquitted Ismayilova under the "appropriation" article, the Baku Administrative and Economic Court No. 1 withdrew the request from the Ministry of Taxes to pay the amount. At the same time, the court ordered it to repay the debt in the amount of 45,145 manat. -03C06-

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