Court Denied Motion to Permit Afghan Mukhtarli to Stay on House Arrest

Nasimi district court held a hearing on the motion to replace the pre-trial detention measure ordered for journalist Afgan Muktharli with house arrest. The hearing was held behind closed doors, but the journalist himself attended the proceeding, lawyer Zibeyda Sadigova reported. According to her, the journalist told the court that he was innocent. “I have been held in jail for 5 months already. During this time, only three times investigative actions were carried out,” the journalist said in court.

He also noted that his health problems still remained and he was not provided quality medical services.
The journalist then called the judge’s attention to the fact that his right to make phone calls had been restricted. “They only allow me to speak to my wife. I have been prohibited from talking to my other family members and friends,” the lawyer said quoting Mukhtarli. Despite of this, the court did not grant the motion.
Sadigova added that she would appeal the court’s decision.

Background: Journalist Afgan Mukhtarli was arrested on 29 May. According to the journalist, he was detained in Tbilisi, Georgia, and brought to Azerbaijan. He was tortured upon detention. According to him, 10,000 EUR was put into his pocket at the state border.
The journalist is charged under Article 315.2 of the Criminal Code (resisting or using violence against a government representative). He has been additionally charged under Articles 318.1 and 206.1 of the Criminal Code for alleged illegal border crossing and smuggling.
Official authorities claim that Afgan Mukhtarli was detained in the territory of Azerbaijan when crossing the state border illegally and that it is not right to politicise the issue.
Mukhtarli was ordered detained for 3 months by the court’s decision. His detention period was subsequently extended.

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