March 7th, 2008
Ganimat Zahid was convicted during a secretly held hearing today in the Yasamal District Court.

Judge Sadaba Mammedova sentenced Zahid to four years of imprisonment, while Vusal Hasanov, who was the other participant in the altercation that led to this criminal case, was given 1.5 years of imprisonment. Defense lawyer Elchin Sadigov told the Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety, "Neither me nor any other lawyer was informed about the verdict. The hearing was held secretly; that is why I don't know who participated in it. I went to court and obtained the verdict. Zahid got 3.5 years under article 127.2.3 of Criminal Code (to cause minor health damage with the intention of hooliganism), and to 6 months under article 221 (hooliganism) – 4 years altogether."
G. Zahid’s wife Ayanda Mursaliyeva told IRFS that she too was unaware of the court hearing. "I contacted the court and they told me that the sentencing was held at 11:00 a.m.," she said.
IRFS contacted "Azadlig" Newspaper Head Director Azer Ahmadov to learn his position about Zahid's imprisonment. Ahmadov said, "There is no logic to the pressures of this government. The government has been trying to silence "Azadlig" Newspaper for years. Employees of the newspaper have faced beating, different civil charges and other pressure. Neither the publication nor the course of the newspaper will change, even if Ganimat gets 14 year imprisonment instead of 4 years."