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Today the Baku Grave Crimes Court held a hearing on the case of Khural newspaper editor-in-chief Avaz Zeynalli, under Judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva. Zeynalli and his lawyers filed petitions with the court. Declaring that this trial would be one of the most important and memorable in the history of the Azerbaijani press, Zeynalli filed a motion asking the court to allow audio recording and filming. He stated that neither he nor his lawyers would reply to the judge's questions if his petition was denied. After a brief deliberation the judge denied his petitions.
Media Rights Institute head Rashid Hajili noted that more than 20 public figures in Azerbaijan have signed a letter of guarantee for the release of Avaz Zeynalli on bail. The letter stated: "We ask you to consider the fact that Avaz Zeynalli does not pose a danger to society, that his family and relatives live in Azerbaijan and that he is engaged in journalistic activity. In this light, please replace his sentence with house arrest." The judge rejected this request. The case will be considered again on June 6th at 3:00pm.
Zeynalli, the editor-in-chief of Khural, 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. On April 12th 2012 his prison term was extended for one month.
Video Description: AVAZ ZEYNALLI`S APPEAL DENIED