Today (3 July) a hearing on the case of Sergey Strekalin, who is accused of stabbing "Azadlig" newspaper correspondent Agil Khalil, was conducted in the Nasimi District court under the chairmanship of Judge Shahin Abdullayev.

On the basis a decision adopted by Judge Abduallyev last hearing, Khalil was brought to the court by police.
Agil Khalil’s lawyer Elchin Sadigov put forth a number of petitions during the hearing. First he expressed his protest against today’s hearing and called for the case to be dropped. Sadigov also noted that investigative material was shown on TV, a violation of a number of international conventions, and said that this casts a shadow of doubt on the court’s ability to conduct an objective trial.

Sadigov also put forth a motion calling for text messages that Khalil allegedly sent to Strekalin to be removed from the list of evidence for the case. Sadigov said this is the National Security Ministry’s material, but not Azercell’s (the local mobile telephone service provider). Official material from Azercell bears the company’s stamp, however neither the paper nor the diskette which are included in the case material bear this stamp. At the same time, the investigation claims they are from Azercell. Sadigov noted that the material on the disk is on standard A4 paper and was written in the Word program. However material of this type from Azercell comes on the company’s official letterhead and is produced through a special program.
Another petition put forth by Sadigov sought to have statements given by Khalil to investigator Ali Guliyev removed from the case material. Sadigov justified this motion, noting that the statements were taken through the use of force. According to him, in the Kurdamir Region Prosecutor’s Office, Guliyev punched Khalil in the stomach and demanded that he admit to knowing someone who speaks Russian. Khalil corroborated these statements later in the hearing, noting he was interrogated for 19 hours, had his fingers squeezed in a door and was subjected to other pressure.
Sadigov presented two more motions related to the two men, Dagbeyi Allahverdiyev and Akit Chovdarov, who beat Khalil in “Zeytun Baglari” on February 22. He requested to the text of all conversations these men have had on their mobile and landline telephones. In addition, Sadigov asked that the minors who witnessed Khalil getting beat and filmed it with their mobile telephone be brought to the court as witnesses, along with Allahveridyev and Chovdarov.
Finally, Sadigov noted that there is a video camera built into the traffic light by the Publishing House, near where Khalil was stabbed on 13 March. Sadigov asked that the archived footage from the camera be reviewed to determine if Strekalin passed by there on March 13, the day Khalil was stabbed.
Prosecutor Eldar Hamzayev and Strekalin’s lawyer Akif Khalilov objected to all of the motions. In the end, the Judge didn’t fulfill any motions put forth by Sadigov.
During the hearing Agil Khalil also testified, and said that Strekalin was not guilty of stabbing him. Khalil demanded that the real offenders be found. He emphasized that none of the motions of his lawyer were fulfilled, and therefore he doesn’t believe the trial is partial and objective.
After the motions, the prosecutor recalled the 13 March stabbing and asked Sergey Strekalin, “Do you consider yourself guilty?” Strekalin answered, “I consider myself guilty of stabbing Agil Khalilov. But I don’t consider myself guilty of storing narcotics at my house or in my pocket. I am innocent of this.”
When given the opportunity to freely address the court, Strekalin gave the exact same testimony he gave during the preliminary investigation (as shown on TV).
Then witnesses from the prosecutor were interrogated. Natig Javadov and Khalis Mammadov, who were interrogated during the preliminary hearing (their testimonies were broadcast on TV channels), confirmed their statements.
E. Sadigov objected to the interrogation of another witness, Zaur Isganderov, saying that he didn’t have any relation to 13 March incident. Despite this, Isganderov testified. During his testimony, Isganderov stated that he met Khalil in February of 2007 after they chatted some on an internet chat used by “gays”.  Isgandarov stated that he didn’t like Khalil and that is why he didn’t get together with him anymore, but Khalil kept sending messages to his phone.
The next hearing of this case is scheduled to take place on 7 July at 11:00 a.m.
Photo from the hearing can be viewed here:,com_datsogallery/Itemid,30/func,viewcategory/catid,71/

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