SOLDIERS ADMIT THEY TESTIFIED UNDER PRESSURE

August 24th, 2008
Yesterday (22 August) in the Yasamal District Court, under the chairmanship of Judge Tahir Ismayilov, a hearing was conducted on Apartment Exploitation Service Unit of the Defense Ministry’s soldier Ali Yusifov’s lawsuit against “Gundalik Baki” Newspaper and its editor-in-chief Habil Valiyev .

“Gundalik Baki” employee Uzeyir Jafarov told this to the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety. “The Defense Ministry’s witnesses were interrogated first,” said Jafarov. “Unfortunately, tens of soldiers were brought to the court hall for no reason. They were taken out of the hall at the order of the judge for behaving inappropriately. The hearing then continued with the participation of the injured party, defendants and lawyers. Several soldiers, who were brought to the hall to testify, and they told the court that they were forced to testify due to an order from Apartment Exploitation Service Unit Commander, Mayor Fikrat Mirzayev,” Jafarov said.  
U. Jafarov added that all witnesses for both the defense and the prosecution were interrogated and in the next hearing, on August 28 at 3 p.m., the lawyers will give speeches. After speeches, the judge is expected to adopt a verdict.
“Gundalik Baki” Newspaper Editor-in-Chief Habil Valiyev is accused under articles 188 (violation of the right to land) and 315.1 (using force to resist a government representative fulfilling their duties) of the Criminal Code. Valiyev allegedly built a house for weddings and funerals on land that belongs to the Ministry of Defense and injured soldier Yusifov while this house was being torn down by soldiers from the Apartment Exploitation Service Unit of the Defense Ministry, and as a result the soldier’s pinky finger was injured.
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