ONE MONTH SINCE AVAZ ZEYNALLI’S ARREST

November 29th, 2011
One month has been passed since Khural newspaper’s editor-in-chief was arrested by officers from the Fight Against Corruption Department of the General Prosecutor’s Office.

Today, the committee tasked with defending Avaz Zeynalli held a press conference at the IRFS press center regarding the defense of the journalist.

“The defense of the journalist is continuing successfully. Human rights defenders, journalists’ organizations, and media outlets have proved that the charges levelled against Avaz Zeynalli are unjust. They believe that the journalist’s arrest is politically motivated and they condemn corruption charges against Avaz Zeynalli,” said Mehman Alieyev, Director of Turan Information Agency.

Human rights defenders and directors of journalist organizations noted the necessity of appealing to the international community for the defense of Zeynalli.

“Information about Avaz Zeynalli’s arrest and the activities of Khural newspaper will be sent to international organizations. A signature gathering campaign must be launched at the international level, and appeals must be sent to the governments and presidents of different states,” said Eynulla Fatullayev, head of the Public Union for Human Rights.

Khural employees said that the newspaper has been forcefully closed.  They have appealed to the Justice Ministry to register several newly created newspapers, but Nuraddin Khoja, an employee of Khural said that “there is  no official response to our appeals.”

During the press conference, participants said that conversations between Avaz Zeynalli and his lawyer at the investigative prison were secretly recorded.

“As Avaz Zeynalli had problems regarding bad prison conditions, his lawyer Elchin Sadigov prepared documents to present to the European Court.  However, those documents were taken from him” said Anar Mammadoglu, employee of Khural newspaper.

Avaz Zeynalli was sentenced to 3 months of pre-trial detention on October 28th. A criminal case was launched against him under Articles 311.3.3 and 311.3.4 of the Criminal Code for taking a large bribe and taking a bribe in conjunction with threats by the Fight Against Corruption Department of the General Prosecutor’s Office. The criminal case is based on a complaint by MP Gular Ahmedova, who claims that the editor extorted money from her.