Media representatives pressured by court guards in journalist’s trial

April 10th, 2013

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On April 10th Baku Appeals Court held another closed hearing on the case of Tolyshi-Sado newspaper editor Hilal Mammadov. Judge Azer Orujov presided over the hearing. In his interview to the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) after the hearing, journalist’s lawyer Khalid Bagirov said that at today’s proceeding judicial investigation under articles 274 (treason) and 283 (incitement of national, racial, social or religious hostility) of the Criminal Code was resumed.

“All of the witnesses involved were heard. Other evidences and expert opinions were investigated. The court announced the expert opinions on the forensic linguistic analysis of the articles written by the journalist. We filed a motion asking the court to invite the forensic experts to attend and speak in the trial. Our motion was granted and the judge decided to invite experts Ilhama Guliyeva, Almaz Bayramova and Mammad Ramazanov to the trial. The next hearing is secluded for April 17, 10:30am” said Mammadov’s lawyer.

IRFS and Turan Information Agency reporters, interviewing the lawyer outside the court, were pressured by court guards who did not introduce themselves. As such, they forced the reporters and the lawyer to go away and not stand near the court building, saying that filming and taking interview is prohibited in this location. The lawyer was also assaulted and insulted by court guards.

Background: Journalist 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).