Journalist Avaz Zeynalli appeals against his conviction and sentence

July 5th, 2013

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An appeal has been filed to the Supreme Court in the case of the arrested editor-in-chief of Khural newspaper Avaz Zeynalli, his lawyer Elchin Sadigov told the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) today (July 5). According to the lawyer, the appeal asks the Court to drop the criminal case on the grounds of acquittal.  

“The appeal was filed on July 3. Mr. Zeynalli does not have any complaints about prison conditions. His only concern is his imprisonment on false charges. He met his family last month. This month he has not been given permission yet. Tomorrow I will go the prison #10 to meet him” said the lawyer.

Background: Avaz Zeynalli was arrested on October 28, 2011 following a lawsuit brought by former MP Gular Ahmadova. The Anti-Corruption Office launched a criminal case against Zeynalli under article 311.3.3 (taking a large bribe) and article 311.3.4 (extortion) of the Criminal Code. Zeynalli was later charged under article 306 (contempt of court) and article 213.1 (tax evasion). On 13 February 2013 the public prosecutor requested 11 years imprisonment for Zeynalli. On 12 March 2013 the Baku Grave Crimes Court sentenced the journalist to nine years in prison. The decision was upheld by Baku Appeals Court on May 13. On May 14 Zeynalli was transferred to the prison #10.

A number of local and international human rights organizations strongly believe that the charges against Avaz Zeynalli are trumped-up and that he was arrested for his articles criticizing high-ranking state officials.