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On April 21, a preliminary hearing was held at Baku Court of Grave Crimes on the case of Anar Mammadli, head of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center (EMDS), Bashir Suleymanli, EMDS executive director, and Elnur Mammadov, head of the Volunteers International Cooperation Public Union. Judge Rauf Aliyev was presiding over the hearing.
During the process, the judge granted a petition by Anar Mammadli’s lawyer asking to let his client out of the courtroom cage and sit beside him.
The rest of the petitions requesting permission for video recording at the hearing, termination of the criminal proceedings and replacement of pretrial detention measure were not granted.
Note that the court hearing was scheduled for April 28.
Background: Anar Mammadli was detained on 16 December 2013, on charges of running business without registration, tax evasion and abuse of office by influencing election results. The court ordered him to serve three months of pretrial detention. On 6 March 2014, Mammadli’s pretrial detention term was extended by three months. On 19 March, preliminary investigation of the case was completed and Mammadli, as well as Suleymanli and Mammadov, who had been given a restraining order, faced additional charges of service forgery and appropriation of property.
Amnesty International has recognized Mammadli as a prisoner of conscience. Numerous local and international rights groups have called for his release.