On July 12th the Supreme Court under presiding judge Rashadat Agayev held a hearing on the cassation appeal brought by Khural newspaper against the confiscation of the newspaper’s property.
The judge heard the case without the attendance of Elchin Sadigov, lawyer of the Khural newspaper. Judge Rashadat Agayev denied the cassation appeal following a brief deliberation.
On October 19th 2011 the property of Khural newspaper was confiscated by the decision of Narimanov District Court as Khural failed to pay total 19 000 AZN compensation to presidential administration head Ramiz Mehdiyev and Vugar Safarli, director of the State Support Fund for Mass Media.
Khural, which was published weekly from October 2002 until September 20th 2011 and daily since September 20th, stopped being published after printing houses refused to print the newspaper on October 21st 2011.
Avaz Zeynali, the editor-in-chief of Khural, was arrested following the lawsuit of MP Gular Ahmadova on October 28th 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). Later he was charged under article 306 (contempt of court) and article 213 (tax evasion). Local and international human rights organizations believe that Zeynalli was arrested for his articles criticizing high-ranking officials.