Journalist Avaz Zeynalli’s appeal denied

March 19th, 2013

On 15 March the Baku Appeals Court, presided over by Judge Ulvi Mayilov, heard the appeal filed by Khural newspaper chief editor Avaz Zeynalli and his lawyer Elchin Sadigov against October 9 2012 decision of the Baku Administrative-Economic Court #2, which denied the journalist’s lawsuit against Baku Investigative Prison. Judge Ulvi Mayilov denied the journalist’s appeal, journalist’s spouse reported to IRFS.

Zeynalli had sued the prison together with his lawyer over the searches before his meeting with the lawyer and confiscation of his letter from the lawyer. Avaz Zeynalli attended the hearing.

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 publicprosecutor asked the court to sentence Zeynalli to 11 years in prison. On 12 March 2013 Baku Grave Crimes Court sentenced the journalist to nine years in prison.

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.