IRFS is deeply troubled over the public prosecutor’s request for a lengthy jail sentence for arrested Khural newspaper chief editor Avaz Zeynalli. As such, on February 13th the Baku Grave Crimes Court held a hearing on the case of journalist Avaz Zeynalli. Judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva presided over the hearing. Making a speech, prosecutor Ramazan Hadiyev stated that the charges filed against Zeynalli were proved and asked the court to sentence Zeynalli to 11 years in prison.
In turn, Avaz Zeynalli said there were political motives behind the prosecutor’s speech and accused him of injustice. Zeynalli added that the charges filed against him were unfounded and that it was easy to notice it in the course of trial.
The trial will continue on February 20, 11am, with the defendant’s speech.
IRFS urges organizations that stand for freedom of expression to attend the next session on February 20.
Background: Avaz Zeynalli, was arrested on October 28, 2011 following a lawsuit brought by MP Gular Ahmadova on October 19, 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) of the Criminal Code. He was later charged under article 306 (contempt of court) and article 213.1 (tax evasion). A large 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.