The trial of Khural newspaper chief editor was reopened in the Baku Grave Crime Court on November 14th. Judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva presided over the hearing. The trial was attended by Avaz Zeynalli, his lawyers Elchin Sadigov and Yalchin Imanov and public prosecutor Ramazan Hadiyev.
The judge announced that two witnesses, former MP Guler Ahmedova and businessman Aydin Heydarov, notified the court that they would be unable to attend the trial due to health problems. The judge noted that Ahmedova had suffered a brain attack. Zeynalli quoted the local media as saying that Guler Ahmedova has recently visited the US and other foreign countries, thus his lawyer filed a petition asking the court to ensure Ahmedova’s presence in the trial and drop her lawsuit against Zeynalli. The judge denied the petitions.
Then Zeynalli objected to the public prosecutor and the composition of the jury. He also filed motions for the return of his mobile phone and his $300 lost during the search of his office conducted by the employees of the Anti-Corruption Office.
After a brief deliberation the judge denied the motions and postponed the trial until November 20th, 10:00am.
Avaz Zeynalli is charged with taking large bribe (Criminal Code Article 311.3.3) and extortion (Criminal Code Article 311.3.4). However it is widely believed that Zeynalli’s arrest is politically motivated and related to his professional activities.