On October 24, the Baku Grave Crimes Court under judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva held a hearing on the case of the arrested Khural newspaper editor-in-chief, Avaz Zeynalli. Witness Tenzile Rustemkhanli, head of the Azeri-Turk Women's Union, testified for the plaintiff, former MP Guler Ahmedova. The judge heard the witness despite of the defendant's objections, who said that it is illegal to hear other witnesses before hearing main witness Guler Ahmedova.
Rustemkhanli said she regretted for attending the trial. In her testimony, Rustemkhanli noted that in July-August of 2011 Ahmedova phoned her saying that Avaz Zeynalli tried to extort money from her. In turn, Rustemkhanli advised Ahmedova not to give in and to make a complaint to police. To the question "Do you know Avaz Zeynalli to be a blackmailer?" Rustemkhanli's answer was "No, I know Zeynalli to be a good journalist". The witness did not explain based upon which evidence she had advised Ahmedova to complain to police.
The other witness, Guler Ahmedova's son Togrul Ahmedov, did not attend this trial. The next hearing is scheduled for October 31, 2:00pm.
Khural chief editor Avaz Zeynalli faces charges under Articles 311.3.3 (taking large bribe) and 311.3.4 (extortion) of the Criminal Code, which he denies. It is widely believed that Zeynalli was arrested for his professional activities.