WITNESSES REFUSE TO COME TO COURT

January 31st, 2008
Today in the Yasamal District Court, under the chairmanship of Judge Sudaba Mammedova, a court hearing was conducted on the case against chief editor of "Azadlig" newspaper Ganimat Zahid.

During the hearing the main witnesses were supposed to give testimony. But these witnesses, Vahid Rustamov, Ikram Tahirov and Afig Qanimatov, did not attend the hearing. They sent a telegram to the court stating that they won't be able to participate in the hearing, but reaffirm the accounts they gave during the initial investigation. The judge asked for the opinion of both parties on this matter.
The prosecutor stated that most of the major witnesses have been interrogated and he recommended continuing the hearing and listening to other witnesses. But Ganimat Zahid's lawyers asked that Rustamov, Tahirov and Ganimatov be brought to court. Defense lawyer Osman Kazimov said that it is against law for the witnesses to send a letter and telegram to the court stating that they won't participate. Lawyer Elchin Sadigov cited the European Convention of Human Rights, saying, "In Article 5 of the European Convention of Human Rights it is stated that we have the right to interrogate witnesses that give testimony against us."  
Then lawyer E. Sadigov introduced a petition to interrogate investigator Punhan Mammadov, who interrogated Vusal Hasanov when he was in the hospital. Judge Mammedova announced that this petition will be fulfilled.
Then the Judge announced that due to the witnesses' failure to show up, the hearing is postponed and will continue on 5 February at 11 a.m.