Journalist requests the court to interrogate Prosecutor General and Interior Minister as witness

June 6th, 2013

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On June 5th the Baku Grave Crimes Court held a hearing on the case of Tolishy Sado newspaper editor Hilal Mammadov. Judge Azer Orujov presided over the hearing. Hilal Mammadov filed a motion asking the court to interrogate Interior Minister Ramil Usubov and Prosecutor General Zakir Garalov as witnesses.  Following a brief deliberation the judge denied the motion.

Afterwards Mammadov answered the prosecutor’s questions regarding where he got the drugs found on him, if his arrest record contained this information and if there were any witnesses while the police searched his apartment for drugs. Then Mammadov answered the questions from the defense lawyers.

The proceeding continued with the testimony provided by Alakbar Khalafov, lieutenant-colonel of the Interior Ministry Department for Combating Drugs. Khalafov said Mammadov was detained and taken to the Department for Combating Drugs after the Department received reports about his long-term involvement in this illegal activity. In his testimony, Khalafov said they had found drugs on Mammadov, but Mammadov avoided giving explanation for this. Khalafov also refuted Hilal Mammadov’s claims that he had been subjected to physical abuse at the Department for Combating Drugs.

After his testimony, the defense lawyers asked questions to Khalafov. However due to the judge’s interference the lawyers couldn’t get responses to their questions. The trial participants expressed their dissatisfaction to the court over this. The next hearing is scheduled for June 13, 2pm.

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).