On November 10th, the Baku Appeals Court heard the appeal against the Nasimi District Court’s October 26 decision, which sanctioned official phone tapping.
After the hearing, the journalist’s lawyer Elchin Sadigov told IRFS they will be taking the case to the Supreme Court.
Sadigov reported that three additional people had reported that Zeynalli had taken bribes from them. Based on these complaints to the Anti-Corruption Fight Department, additional criminal charges were launched under Article 311.3.2 (bribery committed repeatedly).
On October 28, Nasimi District Court sentenced the editor-in-chief of Khural newspaper Avaz Zeynalli to 3 months of pre-trial detention. A criminal case was launched against him under Articles 311.3.3 and 311.3.4 of the Criminal Code: taking large bribes, and extorting bribes via application of threats by the Anti-Corruption Fight Department under General Prosecutor’s Office. The launch of the criminal case is based on a complaint by MP Gular Ahmedova, who alleges that the editor extorted money from her. International and local human rights organizations believe this charge to be false and have released statements saying Zeynalli’s arrest is the direct consequence of anti-government articles that he wrote.
The property of thKhurale newspaper was confiscated on October 19th, due to the company’s failure to pay the 19,000 AZN court-issued fines for the head of the Presidential Administration Ramiz Mehdiyev, Mass Media State Support Fund Executive Director Vugar Safarli and others. The newspaper was forced to cease operations on October 21, as the printing houses refused to print the newspaper.