Trial begins in journalist Serdar Alibayli’s case

October 3rd, 2013

Serdar Elibelyli 01

A preliminary hearing was today held in Khatai District Court on the case of Nota Bene newspaper editor-in-chief Serdar Alibayli, who is charged under article 221.3 of the Criminal Code (hooliganism committed with application of a weapon or subjects, used as the weapon).

The proceeding began with the defending party’s objection to the presiding judge and the state prosecutor, which was rejected.

The judge also denied other petitions requesting commutation of the journalist’s pretrial detention sentence to house arrest given that he has a mentally ill child and returning of his case to the preliminary investigation agency due to serious procedural violations.

Addressing the court, Serdar Alibayli said that he was targeted for his severe criticisms against the government and that he has been held as a hostage for two months.

The judge appointed the next court hearing to October 14.

Background: Serdar Alibeyli was detained on July 31 and taken to Khatai District Police Office #37, where he was given a 48-hour remand. Alibeyli is charged under Article 221.3 of the Criminal Code (the hooliganism committed with application of a weapon or subjects, used as the weapon).

The journalist was sentenced to two-month pretrial detention on August 2. The decision was upheld by the Baku Appellate Court on August 12. He is currently held in the Baku detention centre, awaiting trial.

The journalist doesn’t agree with the accusation and considers it false. He sees the critical articles he has recently written as the real reason behind his arrest.