January 29th, 2008

Today a hearing on the case of “Azadlig” Newspaper Chief Editor Ganimat Zahid was conducted under the chairmanship of Judge Sudaba Mammadova in the Nasimi District Court.

Lawyer Elchin Sadigov told the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety that that witnesses mentioned in the indictment were interrogated first. 
The policeman, who was on duty by the editorial office on the day of the incident, stated that never before has such an incident occurred involving G. Zahid. “On the day of the incident the back of Ganimat Zahid's jacket was torn when he entered the editorial office,” the policeman told the court. “He only mentioned that he had a fight outside." 
Then Ibrahim Mustafayev, who was on duty at police department #28, reported that V. Hasanov came to the police department personally to make a statement. "When I asked him whether he would be able to leave alone he told me that he could and left alone," Mustafayev said. During the court trial defense lawyer Elchin Sadigov reported that police searched for Sevgilada Gulizadah for some time. V. Hasanov in his turn stressed that he has worked at police organs for a long time. 
On the basis of these statements, Sadigov made a petition to investigate whether Hasanov and Gulizadah have any relation to police. The judge did not fulfill this petition. In his speech, Sadigov stressed that in the indictment it is stated that it was impossible to talk to Hasanov when he came to the hospital. But this is contradictory to the witnesses’ statements. 
Court administrators refused to let Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety representatives into the courtroom today to observe the hearing.
The next hearing on this case is scheduled for 31 January at 11 a.m..