Balakan Regional Court has launched judicial investigation in the case of journalist Afgan Mukhtarli.
At the hearing, the indictment bill was read out. Mukhtarli rejected the charges and stated that he had been abducted in Tbilisi, secretly brought through the border and handed over to the law enforcement agencies of Azerbaijan.
Then, the judge invited the witnesses, law enforcement officers, to testify. The defence remarked that the witnesses had the chance to listen to each-other’s testimonies. At least, two witnesses listened to the representative of the border agency.
Upon the request of the defence, one of the witnesses was removed from the list. The trial was postponed until 28 December, as several witnesses were not in attendance.
Background: Journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, who had obtained a residence permit from Georgia, was abducted in downtown Tbilisi and brought to Azerbaijan on 29 May 2017. According to him, this was done by Georgia’s criminal policemen in collaboration with Azerbaijan’s law enforcement agencies.
During his transfer through the border, 10,000 EUR was put in his pocket and he was charged with smuggling.
The next day Mukhtarli was taken to Baku. The court arrested the journalist, charging him under three Articles of the Criminal Code: 315 (resisting a representative of authority), 318.1 (crossing the border illegally) and 206.1 (smuggling).