Avaz Zeynalli transferred to prison

May 17th, 2013

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On May 14th convicted editor of Khural newspaper, Avaz Zeynalli, was transferred from Baku Investigative Prison to Jail #10 of the Penitentiary Service, journalist’s lawyer Elchin Sadigov told the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) on May 17th. Sadigov said that he had not been notified in advance about. “According to the current law, a decision of Appeals Court must be presented before transferring an inmate to prison. However I learned about Zeynalli’s transference 2 days after he was sent to jail. I am also informed that Zeynalli will be held in quarantine for 15 days before being actually moved to the prison. On this ground, he is denied meeting and telephone conversation with his relatives. It is no exception that all of this is done under somebody’s direction” said Sadigov.

Background: Avaz Zeynalli was arrested on October 28, 2011 following a lawsuit brought by former MP Gular Ahmadova. 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) of the Criminal Code. Zeynalli was later charged under article 306 (contempt of court) and article 213.1 (tax evasion). On 13 February 2013 the public prosecutor requested 11 years imprisonment for Zeynalli. On 12 March 2013 the Baku Grave Crimes Court sentenced the journalist to nine years in prison. The decision was upheld by Baku Appeals Court.

A number of local and international human rights organizations strongly believe that the charges against Avaz Zeynalli are trumped-up and that he was arrested for his articles criticizing high-ranking state officials.