ZAHID COULD BE IMPRISONED FOR FIVE YEARS

February 19th, 2008
Today in the Yasamal District Court a hearing on "Azadlig" Newspaper Editor-in-Chief Ganimat Zahid's case was conducted under the chairmanship of Judge Sudaba Mammadova.

The hearing opened with a petition put forth by Elchin Sadigov, one of Ganimat Zahid's lawyers. Elchin Sadigov stated that taxi driver Ikram Tahirov, who testified in favor of Zahid, is being harassed. Sadigov introduced to the court a tape confirming this, and requested the tape be listened to during the trial. Judge Mammadova rejected this petition, without justifying her decision.  
Zahid's other lawyer Osman Kazimov showed the results of Vusal Hasanov’s medical examination. He said, "Doctors examined Vusal Hasanov on 9 November and released their officials diagnosis on 11 November. Pay attention here; it is shown in the medical certificate that V. Hasanov was examined at 6:35 p.m. but in the same certificates it is shown that he was admitted to hospital at 7:00 p.m. This court and the prosecutor carry out their work on orders."
Then O.Kazimov asked V. Hasanov a question, "Did they take your temperature on 12, 13, and 14 November at the hospital named after Musa Nagiyev?"
V. Hasanov replied, "They might have done this but I don't remember exactly."
O.Kazimov asked, "You were arrested on 11 November; how come you say you were at the hospital on that date?" Then Kazimov stated that according to medical certificates, Hasanov was at the hospital on the 12, 13 and 14 November. Then he turned to prosecutor and said, "We know that this trial is conducted on a political order, but the least you could do is try not to make yourselves look like complete fools."  
Then Zahid's defense lawyers asked the judge about the results of petitions filed during previous hearings that Judge Mammadova said would be fulfilled. After the results were presented, lawyers noted that their petition on phone conversations has been distorted and no relevant inquiry was sent to Bakcell Phone Company. During the hearing on 26 December defense lawyers filed a petition to acquire the phone records of V. Hasanov, S. Guliyeva, taxi driver A. Chigarov and Yasamal District Police Investigation Department employee Anar Chigarov, who is believed to be a relative of the taxi driver. The court however sent an inquiry only to find out about the text of phone calls between Hasanov and S. Guliyeva. And this inquiry was only sent to one mobile telephone service provider.  
Then the judge declared that the trial was over, and the state prosecutor gave his closing statement. The state prosecutor asked for 5 (five) years of imprisonment for G. Zahid and 2 (two) years of imprisonment for V. Hasanov.  
Defense lawyers of Ganimat Zahid then asked the judge for extra time to prepare their closing statements.  
The next hearing on this case is scheduled for 26 February at 11:00 a.m.