Authorities arrested Novruzoglu, who is also identified in news reports as Faramaz Allahverdiyev, in April 2012 after accusing him of incitement to mass disorder and illegal border crossing. Novruzoglu denied the accusations, and insisted in court that the charges were fabricated in connection to his reporting on government corruption and abuses.
Authorities said that in March 2011, Novruzoglu called for mass disobedience on a Facebook page, and that five months prior, he had illegally crossed the border into Turkey, according to the regional press. During his trial, Novruzoglu said that both charges were unsubstantiated: Authorities showed no evidence connecting him to the Facebook page; his passport, which he provided to the court, indicatedother travel during the time that he was accused of having crossed the border into Turkey, reports said.
Prior to his arrest and imprisonment, Novruzoglu contributed reporting to the independent newspaper Milletim and published critical articles on social networking websites, according to Kavkazsky Uzel.
Emin Huseynov, director of the Baku-based Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety, told CPJ that investigators failed to present any credible evidence against the journalist and that the state-appointed defense attorney did not effectively defend him in court. According to Huseynov and Kavkazsky Uzel, Novruzoglu and his colleagues said they believed that he was targeted in retaliation for critical articles he wrote on high-level corruption in the export of Azerbaijani crude oil and the import of Russian timber.
In August 2012, a district court in Baku convicted him on all charges and sentenced him to four and a half years in jail, news reports said.
News accounts reported that he is being held in a penal colony, but have not offered further details.