Witness testifies in favor of arrested journalist

April 27th, 2013

Nicat Əliyev

On April 26 Baku Grave Crimes Court held a hearing on the case of azadxeber.org news portal editor Nijat Aliyev. Judge Zeynal Agayev presided over the hearing. Witness Valeh Abdullayev, a salesman at the Killer menswear shop in front of which Aliyev was detained, testified at the hearing. The witness categorically denied the investigation records that Aliyev brought bags and discs to the shop. “Aliyev never brought any discs, books or something else in our shop” said Abdullayev.

The next hearing is scheduled for May 16, 10:30am.

Background:  Nijat Aliyev was arrested on May 20, 2012 on charges of drug possession.

On January 26, 2013 Aliyev faced new charges under three Articles of the Criminal Code: 167.2.2.1 (import, sale and distribution of religious literature, religious items and other informational materials of religious nature with the aim of reproduction, sale and distribution without appropriate authorization), 281.2 (making appeals to violent capture of authority, violent deduction of authority or violent change of constitutional grounds or infringement of territorial integrity of the Azerbaijan Republic, as well as distribution of materials of such contents) and 283.2.3 (incitement of national, racial or religious hostility, humiliation of national honor, as well as discrimination of citizens  based on their national, racial or religious background committed publicly or with use of mass media). His pretrial detention was extended for two months by Nasimi District Court on February 15.

 Many international and local human rights groups believe that Nijat Aliyev was arrested for criticizing issues related to the Eurovision Song Contest, including the government’s high expenditures for the event and LGBT issues in connection with the contest, and questioned the need for the contest to be held in Azerbaijan.