Zeynalli’s lawsuit against the National Press Council set for trial

August 5th, 2013

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Editor-in-chief of Khural newspaper, Avaz Zeynalli,  will get another chance at proving his claims against the National Press Council in a second lawsuit set to go to trial. Zeynalli, currently serving his prison term,  has been transferred from the prison #10 to the Baku Detention Center for the purpose of participation in the Press Council ‘s trial.  

Zeynalli originally filed suit against the National Press Council in 2011, alleging the organization attempted to damage his business and personal dignity by declaring the Khural a racketeer newspaper. Although being initially denied consideration by the Narimanov Distict Court, the case was then referred back to the court by the Supreme Court decision on the journalist’s appeal.

It is not yet certain when or by which judge the case will be heard, but Zeynalli asks for his participation in the hearings, said the journalist’s spouse, Malahat Zeynalli to IRFS.

Background: Avaz Zeynalli was arrested on October 28, 2011 following a lawsuit brought by former MP Gular Ahmadova. The Anti-Corruption Office launched a criminal case against Zeynalli under article 311.3.3 (taking a large bribe) and article 311.3.4 (extortion) of the Criminal Code. Zeynalli was later charged under article 306 (contempt of court) and article 213.1 (tax evasion). On 13 February 2013 the public prosecutor requested 11 years imprisonment for Zeynalli. On 12 March 2013 the Baku Grave Crimes Court convicted and sentenced the journalist to nine years in prison. The decision was upheld by Baku Appeals Court on May 13.

A wide range of local and international human rights organizations strongly believe that the charges against Avaz Zeynalli are trumped-up and that he was arrested for his articles criticizing high-ranking state officials.