On November 13th Khatai district court held a hearing on the case of Nota Bene newspaper editor-in-chief Serdar Alibayli, who is accused of hooliganism using cold weapons.
The journalist started his final speech with a statement. “I was lured to allege in the court that he had affiliation with Presidential Administration head Ramiz Mehdiyev and ministers Kamaladdin Heydarov and Ramil Usubov. They do this to compromise me, but they won’t succeed. I flatly rejected this offer. I worked independently and was arrested in connection with my activity” Serdar told the court.
“I couldn’t meet my relatives or my lawyer in private for now four months. The evidences used against me are illegally-obtained and expert opinions are incomplete. In a partial and deliberate manner no questions were asked to the experts, forensic examination has been incomplete and it has ignored checking shoes and micro-particles under the nail, which are the basics of investigation. My motion for a re-examination was denied, allegedly for not being submitted on time. My right to defense was grossly violated, as the lawyer who defended me at the time of my detention was not the one I wanted” the journalist added.
After a deliberation, the judge announced that Serdar Alibayli was found guilty of the charges and sentenced to 4 years.
Background: Serdar Alibayli was detained on July 31 and taken to Khatai District Police Office #37, where he was given a 48-hour remand. Alibayli is charged under Article 221.3 of the Criminal Code (the hooliganism committed with application of a weapon or subjects, used as the weapon) which carries a maximum seven years in prison.
The journalist was sentenced to two-month pretrial detention on August 2. The decision was upheld by the Appellate Court on August 12. Alibayli is currently held in the Baku detention centre.
The journalist doesn’t agree with the accusation and considers it false. He sees the critical articles he had recently written as the real reason behind his arrest.