Today the Baku Grave Crimes Court held a hearing on the case of Khural newspaper editor-in-chief Avaz Zeynalli.
Judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva presided over the hearing. Zeynalli filed a petition to the court, deeming all the charges against him unfounded and declaring his innocence. Zeynalli filed a petition asking the court to change the criminal charges against him. Based on the lawsuit by MP Gular Ahmadova, he is currently charged with Articles 311.3.3 (taking a large bribe), 311.3.4 (taking a bribe via the application of threat), 213 (tax evasion) and Article 306 (contempt of court). Zeynalli seeks to have those charges replaced with Articles 47 (libel) and 48 (insult), and to have the case transferred to a regional court. The judge replied that the appeal would be discussed during the course of the trial, but did not grant them at this stage of proceedings.
After public prosecutor Ramazan Hadiyev announced the indictment against Avaz Zeynalli, the judge postponed the trial to June 14 3:00pm.
Zeynalli was arrested following a lawsuit brought by MP Gular Ahmadova on October 28th. The Anti-Corruption Office charged him under Article 311.3.3 (taking a large bribe) and Article 311.3.4 (taking a bribe via the application of threat), and then Nasimi District Court sentenced him to 3 months of pre-trial detention. On January 17th 2012 his prison term was extended by three months, and then by another month on April 12th.