Avaz Zeynalli is denied the presence at his own trial

August 1st, 2012
Baku Administrative-Economic Court #2 chaired by Rana Huseynova heard the lawsuit by Khural newspaper editor-in-chief Avaz Zeynalli and lawyer Elchin Sadigov against the senior officials of the Baku Investigative Prison (BIP).

The court secretary said neither the plaintiffs nor the defendants attended the hearing although they had been notified in advance. The management of the BIP refused to allow plaintiff Avaz Zeynalli, who is currently held in BIP, to participate in the hearing despite the court decision, which demanded to ensure his presence in the trial.
The judge ordered to warn BIP management that they could be fined if they once again deny Zeynalli’s attendance. In addition, the judge  gave instructions to inform Avaz Zeynalli of the course of the judicial process and to notify the Bar Association that lawyer Elchin Sadigov should participate in the next hearing.
The next hearing on the case is scheduled for August 14 10:00am.
Avaz Zeynalli and lawyer Elchin Sadigov appealed to the court against BIP management’ breaching confidence of their meetings and for unfounded search of Zeynalli before and after each meeting with his lawyer.  
Avaz Zeynali has been held in Baku Investigative Prison for already 10 months. He was arrested following the lawsuit of MP Gular Ahmadova on October 28th 2011. The Anti-Corruption Office launched a criminal case against Zeynalli under article 311.3.3 (taking a large bribe) and article 311.3.4 (extortion). Later he was charged under article 306 (contempt of court) and article 213.1 (tax evasion).  
Local and international human rights organizations believe that the charges against Avaz Zeynalli are trumped-up and that he was arrested for his articles criticizing high-ranking officials.