On August 30, representatives of the Ombudsman’s Office met with the arrested chief editor of the Khural newspaper, Avaz Zeynalli, in Baku Investigative Prison, MediaForum.az reports.
According to department head at the Ombudsman’s Office, Vugar Maharramov, Zeynalli is not dissatisfied with his prison conditions: “We visited Zeynalli following his appeal to ombudsman Elmira Suleymanova. Zeynalli stated in his appeal that he is denied a meeting with his family. This is because he cannot get permission for a meeting as the judge handling his case is on a leave” comments Maharramov. The prison leadership also participated in the meeting where they guaranteed that Zeynalli’s petitions would be handed in to the court, Maharramov says.
At the same time, Alimammad Nuriyev, the coordinator of the NGO Anti-Corruption Network and the head of Constitution Research Foundation, paid a visit to the chief editor of the Khural. “We discussed Zeynalli’s health problems. It is possible for Zeynalli to call for his GP at his own means “, Nuriyev said. “As for Zeynalli’s appeals to the Ministry of Justice, the Penitentiary Service and the Ombudswoman’s Office, that issue has been solved and the letters have been delivered”.
Avaz Zeynalli, the editor-in-chief of Khural, was arrested following a lawsuit brought by MP Gular Ahmadova on October 28th, 2011. The Anti-Corruption Office launched a criminal case against Zeynalli under article 311.3.3 (taking a large bribe) and article 311.3.4 (extortion). Later he was charged under article 306 (contempt of court) and article 213.1 (tax evasion). He has been held in Baku Investigative Prison for more than 10 months.
Local and international human rights organizations strongly believe that the charges against AvazZeynalli are trumped-up and that he was arrested for his articles criticizing high-ranking state officials.