NEMAT PANAHLI REFUSES TO TESTIFY IN ABSENCE OF MEDIA REPRESENTATIION AT HEARING

May 3rd, 2011

 Today the Nasimi District Court held the trial on the case of Azerbaijani National Statehood Party Chairman Nemat Panahli and his friend Jeyhun Farzullayev. Judge Elman Ahmadov presided over the hearing.

The hearing had been scheduled for 11:00 a.m, but the judge opened proceedings an hour early, at 10:00 a.m. The journalists who arrived in time for an 11 o’clock start were not allowed in.

Nemat Panahli and Jeyhun Farzaliyev refused to testify in protest against the lack of media presence.

The next hearing will be held on 17 May.

Nemat Panahli and Farzaliyev were arrested on a charge brought by Eldar Rzayev, for hooliganism committed with a weapon. The Baku Appeals Court upheld  the charge.  If he is found guilty, Panahli could face 5 years in prison.

Panahli’s supporters claim that the real reason for his arrest is his journalistic activity. Prior to his arrest, he wrote a number of articles criticizing the government, published in various press outlets, including the Nota PS.