Baku school principal convicted in death of student – but isn’t going to prison
Originally published by JAMnews
The public is outraged that the director was sentenced to only 2.5 years in prison.
The trial of Sevinj Abbasova, the principal of a Baku school who is considered responsible for the death of a student, has come to an end.
The sentence: two and a half years of electronic surveillance and she will be forbidden from leaving the house at night.
She also must pay the parents of the deceased girl compensation for moral and material damage.
This is the punishment for failing to provide proper aid to one of her students after the latter tried to commit suicide by jumping out a window.
Three years later, after serving her ‘sentence’, Sevinj Abbasova will again be able to occupy posts in the education system.
Parents of the girl are unhappy with the verdict of the court and are going to appeal.
On April 4, 2019, 14-year-old Elina Hajiyeva jumped out of the window of the school where she studied, because many students constantly teased her, and the school administration turned a blind eye to this.
The case received a huge public response and is under the personal supervision of the country’s vice president Mehriban Aliyeva.
How Elina Hajiyeva died
When Elina jumped out of the window, the director did not call an ambulance, but instead kept the wounded girl in her office for two hours.
There, she, along with the chairman of the regional commission on work with minors, forced Elina to answer questions about the reasons for her act; all this was filmed on video.
Then Elina was finally taken to the hospital, where she died two days later from her injuries.
Doctors did not let her parents go to her and said that everything was in order with the girl.
But representatives of the school administration and local executive authorities were allowed into intensive care. They again “interrogated” Elina, trying to figure out the motives of her act.
All these details leaked into social networks, people were indignant and demanded justice, namely to thoroughly investigate the case and punish the people involved in the death: the director, the hospital’s doctors, the school psychologist and the class teacher.
The deputy director and school psychologist were fired. Nobody dealt with the doctors at all. And only Director Sevinj Abbasova was put on the dock.
She was also fired, put under house arrest and a criminal case was brought against her under the article “bringing to suicide”. But then this case was dismissed and the director was charged under the articles “negligence” and “exposing to danger”.
The trial and sentence
The trial of Sevinj Abbasova began on September 12. The director denied her guilt from the beginning.
The media and the public closely followed the process. There were many rumors about both the director and Elina’s mother heatedly debated on social networks.
The director and her sympathizers tried to blame all the blame for the death of the girl on her parents, who had little to do with their daughter.
On October 24, the court found Sevinj Abbasova guilty on both counts. From the two and a half years of the sentence, the time that she had already spent under house arrest was deducted.
As a result, she was sentenced to 2 years, 2 months and 14 days of restraint of liberty, which means she will have to wear an electronic bracelet surveillance her movements.
She will also have to pay 18,500 manat of compensation to Elina’s parents – about 11,000 dollars. Initially, parents demanded 100,000 manat compensation [about 59,000 dollars].
Too lenient a sentence?
Many in Azerbaijan consider this sentence to be unjust and too lenient. People recall how opposition activists received real prison sentences on charges of “hooliganism” or “rioting”.
Elina’s parents are going to appeal, and in case of refusal, to complain to the European Court of Human Rights.
The suicide of Elina Hajiyeva has forced Azerbaijani society and education officials to pay attention to the problem of bullying in schools and begin to fight the issue.
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