Representative of Ombudsman’s Office visits Avaz Zeynalli in prison

February 26th, 2013

Following reports about the deteriorating health of Avaz Zeynalli, Head of the National Preventive Group of the Ombudsman’s Office, Vugar Maharramov, visited journalist in prison to inquire about his condition. According to information that IRFS received from Khural newspaper director Nizami Hasanli, representative of Ombudsman office promised to keep focused on his case.

Hasanli added that late on February 25, doctors from the Central Clinic of the Justice Ministry’s Penitentiary Service and doctors of the Baku Investigative Prison’s Medical Department examined the journalist’s health. The doctors evaluated the journalist’s health status as normal, but added that he should have some analysis.

Note that on February 21, Avaz Zeynalli appealed to the chief of the Baku Investigation Prison, Azer Seyidov, and asked to move him to the medical section of the prison due to his health problems.

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). On February 13th the public prosecutor asked for 11 years in prison for Avaz Zeynalli.

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.