Defense of Arrested Journalist Hilal Mammadov to Be Strengthened

January 26th, 2013

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On January 18th the Committee to protect the rights of arrested Tolishy-Sado newspaper chief editor Hilal Mammadov held a roundtable to discuss strengthening the journalist’s defense ahead of his upcoming trial scheduled for January 23rd. Member of the Committee, human rights activist Arzu Abdullayeva noted the importance of international organizations’ interest in the journalist’s case, as a result of which Hilal Mammadov’s name has been included in the list of persons persecuted for political reasons.Abdullayeva also advised to start seeking recognition of the journalist as a prisoner of conscience, which she believes can increase international support for Mammadov.

The Committee plans to issue a statement for the next trial of Hilal Mammadov to be completely open to the public, as the first half of the trial is intended to be closed. It is also calling on the media organizations to cover the course of the proceedings. A separate application will be submitted to the diplomatic missions inviting them to attend the trial.

It is also planned to hold a press conference on January 24th, where Hilal Mammadov’s lawyer will inform the public about the charges brought against the journalist and complete course of the trial.

Background:

The next hearing in the case of Hilal Mammadov is scheduled for January 23, 10:30am. The first part of the hearing relating to the criminal charges under Articles 274 (treason) and 283 (inciting national, racial, social and religious hatred, hostility and ethnic discrimination) will be held closed, while the second part focused on drug-related charges (Article 234.4.3 of the Criminal Code) will be open to public.

Once convicted on all of the charges brought against him, Mammadov may face confiscation of property and imprisonment for 5 to 12 years.