On May 29th the Baku Grave Crimes Court held a hearing on the case of Tolyshy Sado newspaper editor Hilal Mammadov. Judge Azer Orujov presided over the hearing. The trial started with the presentation of the written ‘objection to the composition of the jury’ by the defense, which was left unconsidered by the judge.
Then Hilal Mammadov started to testify. He said that he was arrested in connection with a YouTube video “Tı kto takoy, davay, do svidaniya” (Who do you think you are), which pulled the attention of foreigners to the culture of Talysh people (national minority living in the south of Azerbaijan).
“I has been chased since 2005. On June 21, 2012, a few days after the folklore event held in Astara region, I was attacked in front of my house by some seven strongly-built men. They shoved me into a car and took me to the Office for Combating Drugs. I was beaten on the way. At the Office, it ‘turned out’ that they had found drugs on me, and they brought to witnesses to document this claim. There I was subjected to physical pressure once again” said Mammadov.
The journalist said that all of this was a reprisal for his social activity and critical opinions. He told the court that he will never give up his position.
The next hearing is scheduled for June 5, 10:30am.
Background: Hilal Mammadov was arrested on June 21, 2012, on charges of illegal possession of drugs in large quantities (Article 234.4.3/Criminal Code), treason (Article 274/Criminal Code), and incitement to national, racial, social and religious hatred and hostility (Article 283/Criminal Code).