On November 12th Khatai district court held a hearing on the case of Nota Bene newspaper editor-in-chief Serdar Alibayli, who is accused of hooliganism using cold weapons.
In his speech, the journalist’s attorney Samir Isayev said not only Alibayli’s involvement in the crime, but even the simplest allegations about the supposed crime have not been proven, because of the insufficiency of evidence.
“As evidence they put forward only a blood-stained stone and an injury, but whether it was this stone which caused the injury or it was Serdar Alibayli who hit the complainant is not proved. On the contrary, the court did not give us a chance to collect and present evidence to prove Alibayli’s innocence and our numerous motions were denied by the judge: Serdar’s evidences and alibi were ignored, requests for allowing witnesses to testify were rejected, testimonies of the witnesses provided in court did not conform to those provided to the investigator. Even one of the witnesses was interrogated the day before the police complaint was actually filed by the complainant. Expert opinions are incomplete: the blood stains on the stone, the alleged instrument of crime, have not been compared with the complainant’s injury to see if the sizes matched or to whom the blood on the stone belonged, eventually to see if this stone could inflict such an injury or if it was committed by Serdar Alibayli. It was not my client who did this, Serdar is totally innocent and must be acquitted” the lawyer said.
Serdar Alibayli will make the final speech in his defense tomorrow, on November 13, at 10:30am.
Background: Serdar Alibayli was detained on July 31 and taken to Khatai District Police Office #37, where he was given a 48-hour remand. Alibayli is charged under Article 221.3 of the Criminal Code (the hooliganism committed with application of a weapon or subjects, used as the weapon) which carries a maximum seven years in prison.
The journalist was sentenced to two-month pretrial detention on August 2. The decision was upheld by the Appellate Court on August 12. Alibayli is currently held in the Baku detention centre.
The journalist doesn’t agree with the accusation and considers it false. He sees the critical articles he had recently written as the real reason behind his arrest.