July 1st, 2008

Today (1 June) 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.

As in the past, Khalil did not come to the hearing.

The judge asked the prosecutor and the lawyer of the defendant about whther they wanted to continue or postpone the hearing. Prosecutor Eldar Hamzayev stated that Khalil’s participation in the hearing is very important.

“He has refused to come to the hearing several times. That is why he should be brought to the hearing forcefully according to Azerbaijani legislation,” said Hamzayev. Both S. Strekalin and his lawyer Akif Khalilov said they agreed with Hamzayev’s statement.

Then the judge, returning from a deliberation, adopted a decision to bring Agil Khalil forcefully to the next hearing, and tasked the Nasimi District Police Department to execute this court order.

The judge scheduled the next nearing on this case for 3 July at 10:30 am.

The hearing was monitored by representatives of the OSCE’s Baku Office and the French embassy in Azerbaijan.