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On January 16th the Baku Grave Crimes Court held a hearing in the case of Khural newspaper chief editor Avaz Zeynalli. Judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva presided over the hearing. Based on the interview of former MP Guler Ahmadova with the Bizim Yol newspaper, where Ahmadova repetitively denies suing Avaz Zeynalli, the chief editor requested the court to return his case to the investigating organ.Then Judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva started to look into the petitions filed by Zeynalli at the previous hearing. Following the denial of his petitions, the journalist refused to sit in his trial till the end, as a sign of protest to the public prosecutor who fervently objected to all of his petitions. “The decisions in this court are made not on behalf of the AzerbaijanRepublic, but of a criminal network of Ramiz Mehdiyev” said Zeynalli.
The judge first announced a break in the trial, and then postponed it for an indefinite period of time.
Avaz Zeynalli, was arrested on October 28, 2011 following a lawsuit brought by MP Gular Ahmadova on October 19, 2011. 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). Later he was charged under article 306 (contempt of court) and article 213.1 (tax evasion). 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.