The hearing opened with statement from Media Rights Institute lawyer Elchin Sadigov and Alaif Hasanov. Both said that the criminal case against Zahid is bogus, and demanded that the court conduct a fair court investigation. Zahid’s other lawyer Osman Kazimov said that he has no hope that Appellate Court will adopt a fair decision. Kazimov cited Presidential Administration head Ramiz Mehdiyev’s comment that “the imprisoned journalists will not be released,” and said “Even is Vusal Hasanov stood up and said Ganimat is not at fault, they will not exonerate him.”
After this V. Hasanov spoke. He noted that he is obligated to care for a young child, and asked the judge to reduce his punishment.
After this the staff prosecutor asked for time to prepare his statement. The judge scheduled the next hearing on this case for 12 May at 2 p.m.
Representatives from the U.S. and German embassies, and OSCE Baku office were present at the hearing.