July 13th, 2010

Today, 13 July, in the Sebail District Court, under the chairmanship of Judge Kemale Amirkhanova, a hearing was held on the criminal case under article 221 (hooliganism) of the Criminal Code against Aziz Ahmedov who physically injured journalist Zulfigar Kheyirkhabar.

Aziz Ahmedov, state prosecutor Orkhan Nuriyev, and Zulfigar Khayirkhabar and his representative Fariz Namazli participated in the hearing.

Z.Kheyirkhabar's witness, Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) Employee Mehman Huseynov testified in court. Mehman Huseynov testifiedthat on 18 February 2010, IRFS received information that journalist Z.Kheyirkhabar had been physically harassed and that the journalist had filed a complaint at the Sebail District Police Department #9.


M.Huseynov continued his testimony stating,“We went to “Karvan” tea house to film after we interviewed Kheyirkhabar regarding the event in front of the Sebail District Police Department #9. We witnessed that the Ministry of Emergency Cases employee was closing the door of “Karvan” Tea House, and we filmed this.”


After M.Huseynov's testimony, the judge said that public prosecutor Ahmed Jafarov was on vacation and Orkhan Nuriyev would substitute for him. This means that Nuriyev is now in charge of preparing an argument for the motion that Z.Kheyirkhabar filed in the last hearing regarding bringing charges against “Karvan” tea house administrator Zaur Gafarov and a Ministry of Emergency Cases employee, both of whom were present at the incident. The charges against Gafarov and the Ministry of Emergency Cases employee would fall under article 163 (interference in legal work of journalists) of the Criminal Code. The Ministry of Emergency Cases employee, who used force against the journalist, would face additional charges under article 309.2 (going beyond duty responsibilities by using force) of the Criminal Code.


The next hearing was scheduled for 23 July, at 11.00 a.m.


On 18 February, 2010, Zulfigar Kheyirkhabar, who worked as a correspondent in “Salam News” agency, was subjected to physical harassment when he tried to acquire information regarding the explosion that happened at the “Karvan” tea house. Zaur Gafarov who presented himself as the owner of the café insulted Z.Kheyirkhabar and hindered his work as a journalist. Then, a Ministry of Emergency Cases employee pushed Z.Kheyirkhabar and tried to carry him from the area. After this, Aziz Ahmedov beat him.