On February 25th Khachmaz District Court held another hearing was held on the case of Khayal TV executive director Vugar Gonagov and editor Zaur Guliyev, who were arrested in connection with March 1 protests in Guba city. Judge Anar Ibrahimov presided over the trial.
According to journalists’ lawyer Elchin Sadigov, public prosecutor Ahad Ibrahimov requested 4.5 years prison term for both of his clients.
The trial will continue on March 12, with speeches by the lawyers.
Background: After the online dissemination of a video in which RaufHabibov (the then chief of Guba City Executive Power) insulted Guba citizens, there was a mass riot in Guba on March 1st. The citizens set Habibov’s house on fire and there were clashes between people and the police. After the protests president Ilham Aliyev dismissed Rauf Habibov from his post. On March 13th Khayal TV correspondents Vugar Gonagov and Zaur Guliyev and up to 20 other Guba residents were arrested in connection with the protest. Vugar Gonagov, Zaur Guliyev and the other arrested persons are accused of infringement of public order (Article 233/Criminal Code) and abuse of position (Article 309/Criminal Code); in particular they are accused of editing the mayor’s speech, uploading it onto YouTube, and calling on the people to riot. Vugar Gonagov and Zaur Guliyev, who are accused of re-editing the video, reject the charges, saying that they had not re-edited the video.