Zeynalli’s case startS with pressures on reporters

Today Baku Grave Crimes Court held a preparatory hearing on the case of Khural newspaper editor-in-chief Avaz Zeynalli. The case was appointed for consideration by presiding judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva.

Zeynalli’s lawyer Elchin Sadigov filed petitions to the court to allow filming in the hearing, to investigate false text messages sent from Zeynalli’s mobile phone, and to issue a decision against the Baku investigative prison chief Elkhan Sadigov, who prevented Zeynalli from meeting with his lawyer. All of the motions were denied. The trial was scheduled for May 31st 10:00am.

A number of local and foreign journalists, and civil society representatives attended. At the end of the hearing, violence broke out, when attendees objected to aggressive behavior by court officials, who damaged the camera belonging to a correspondent of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety.

Zeynalli, the editor-in-chief of independent Khural newspaper, was arrested following a lawsuit brought by MP Gular Ahmadova on October 28th. The Anti-Corruption Office charged him under Article 311.3.3 (taking a large bribe) and Article 311.3.4 (taking a bribe via the application of threat), and Nasimi District Court sentenced him to 3 months of pre-trial detention. On January 17th 2012 his prison term was extended by three months.


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