A closed trial was held on February 15, on the case of Tolishy Sado newspaper chief editor Hilal Mammadov in Baku Grave Crimes Court. Huseynaga Ganiyev, former member of the Parliament, and Huseynaga Aliyev, former chief of Lankaran City Department of the Ministry of National Security, testified in the trial, Mammadov’s lawyer Yalchin Imanov told the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS).Hilal Mammadov refused to testify due to closed trial. He wore a mask, put cotton into his ears and turned his back on the jury. In protest to closed trials, Mammadov limited his attorneys’ authority, by requiring them not to attend the trial.
Public prosecutor Tural Yusifov requested the court to file a complaint with the bar association, if the attorneys did not attend the trial once more. The judge denied the prosecutor’s petition, after the lawyers’ objection.
Before the start of the trial, the Committee to protect the rights of Hilal Mammadov, held a peaceful protest outside the Grave Crimes Court, against the closed trial. To show solidarity with Mammadov, they also covered their mouths with masks. The action lasted for 20 minutes, after which Committee head Rafiq Jalilov announced the next step was going to be hunger strike.
The trial will continue on February 23, 10:30 am.
Background: According to the court decision, the first part of Hilal Mammadov’s trial relating to the criminal charges under Articles 274 (treason) and 283 (inciting national, racial, social and religious hatred, hostility and ethnic discrimination) would be held closed, while the second part focused on drug-related charges (Article 234.4.3 of the Criminal Code) would be open to the public.