Panahli’s attorney Samir Isayev said that the the charge brought against his client contained no criminal element, and that there is no official evidence with which to charge him:
“As I said, evidence provided by the defendants has not been investigated. For instance, the subject of the dispute – the car – has not been examined. Also, even though there were police officers 30 meters away from the area, they did not intervene during the incident. In addition, there are contradictions across witness testimonies. Therefore, I request Panahli’s acquittal and a specific investiation on the investigator who opened the criminal case.”
Farzullayev’s lawyer Elchin Aliyev stated that the charges against his client were unfounded and asked the Judge to rule for his acquittal.
The defendants were permitted to make a final speech. Farzullayev said that he was a witness during this affair. He did not plead guilty.
When Panahli asked for time to prepare his final speech, public prosecutor Asadulla Raamazanov claimed that this request was designed to delay the process. However, the Judge postponed the hearing to June 16th in order to give Panahli some more time.
Nemat Panahli, the Chairman of the Azerbaijan National Statehood Party, was arrested under charges brought by citizen Eldar Rzayev. A criminal case has been brought against him under Article 221.3 of the Criminal Code (hooliganism committed with a weapon). If he is found guilty, Panahli could face 5 years in prison.
Panahli’s supporters claim that the real reason behind his arrest is his journalistic activity. He wrote a number of articles criticizing the government, published in various press outlets.