On January 14th Lankaran Grave Crimes Court held a preparatory meeting on the case of the chief editor of xeber44.com news website Araz Guliyev, as reported to the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety by the journalist’s brother Azer Guliyev. According to Azer, the meeting was postponed until January 21st 11am due to the lack of lawyer to defend journalist. Azer also noted that his brother refused the court proposal to appoint a public defender for him.
Araz Guliyev was arrested on September 8th on charges of attempting to prevent an international folklore festival in Masalli region, and causing bodily harm to ordinary people and police officers. On December 11th the previous hooliganism charge against Guliyev has been replaced by five new charges, under Article 228.1 (illegal possession of fire arms), Article 233 (violation of public order), Article 283.1 (inciting national, racial, ethnic or religious animosity and hostility), Article 315.2 (resistance and violence against a representative of the authority) and Article 324 (insulting the national flag or emblem of the Azerbaijan Republic) of the Criminal Code. Araz Guliyev rejects the charges, claiming that he was arrested for his journalistic and religious activities.