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On March 6th the Baku Grave Crimes Court held a closed hearing on the case of Tolishy Sado newspaper chief editor Hilal Mammadov. Judge Azer Orujov presided over the hearing. A group of civil society activists held a silent protest outside the court in defense of the arrested journalist. The protest lasted for 15 minutes, after which the police interfered with the action and required the demonstrators and also media workers, who came to monitor the trial, to leave the area.
Mammadov’s lawyer Khalid Bagirov told the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) that they filed a petition with the court asking to invalidate the testimonies provided by main witness of the prosecution, Elman Guliyev. “Their main witness claims that information about Hilal Mammadov being a drug dealer and agent had been received from journalist Novruzali Mammadov (Novruzali Mammadov died in prison in 2009). But Novruzali Mammadov had never confirmed Guliyev’s allegations at his own trial. Also, according to Criminal Procedure Code, if a witness quotes another person, his testimony should not be considered valid. However our petition was denied and the witness was heard” said the lawyer.
The next hearing on Hilal Mammadov’s case is scheduled for March 13, 10:30am.
Background: Hilal Mammadov is charged with illegal possession of drugs in large quantities (Article 234.4.3/Criminal Code), treason (Article 274/Criminal Code), and incitement of national, racial, social and religious hatred, hostility and ethnic discrimination (Article 283/Criminal Code).