January 15th, 2008
Today in the Yasamal District Court, under the chairmanship of Judge Sudaba Mammadova, the trial on the case against “Azadlig” Newspaper Chief Editor Ganimat Zahid continued.

The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety, as well as handful of other newspaper correspondents and human rights advocates were not admitted into today’s hearing due to alleged shortage of seats in the courtroom.

One of the chief editor’s lawyers, Elchin Sadigov, told the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety that during today’s hearing witnesses gave testimony. Abbas Ismayilov, a witness for the prosecution, told the court that Zahid punched Vusal Hasanov once. After this, doctors from Bayil Prison #1 addressed the court. They said that when Zahid was brought to Bayil Prison he was completely healthy.  

Vusal Hasanov then spoke. He insulted “Azadlig” Newspaper and Zahid’s lawyers, saying, “Zahidov’s lawyers only work for money.”

After this, Zahid put forth two petitions. He asked that film from his interrogation and from the medical examination he underwent in Bayil Prison to be introduced to the court. These petitions were not fulfilled. Then Zahid went on to say that if the court is going to continue in this manner, then he rejects his lawyers.  

Following this, Zahid’s lawyers introduced petitions to bring witnesses to the court and to be allowed to use video and photo cameras, as well as Dictaphones, in the courtroom. State prosecutor Jayhun Kazimov said he completely protests against this petitions and Judge Mammadova agreed with him. Therefore, the petitions were rejected.

At the end of today’s court hearing, G. Zahid announced that he would not reject his lawyers and they, together with him, would continue to participate in the trial.  

The next hearing on this case will take place on 17 January at 10 a.m.