BAKU. November 3, 2011: The founder and editor of the Khural newspaper, Avaz Zeynalli, is a political prisoner. His lawyer, Elchin Sadikhov, made this statement in an interview for Objective TV. Elchin Sadikhov said the psychological and legal pressures on the journalist Avaz Zeynalli , who was arrested a few days ago on October 28, has a long history. The pressures started in May last year, after Zeynalli penned an article which noted that the head of the Presidential Administration, Ramiz Mehdiyev, was the actual head of state. Immediately after that, several officials filed lawsuits to protect their honor and dignity. The pressure intensified after Zeynalli, in his article on October 17, accused the president Ilham Aliyev of not being interested in the national independence of the country. Two days later, on October 19th, the Narimanov district court registered the property of the newspaper for confiscation based on the pending lawsuits and on the same day the Ministry of Justice officials went on to levy the newspaper’s property without any court decision. Khural newspaper’s confiscated property included 9 computers, desks, chairs, two heating ovens and even wall portraits. The seizure of the property was made to satisfy Ramiz Mehdiyev’s legal claims (10,000 AZN) against the newspaper.
On October 20, Khural published another article criticizing the president Ilham Aliyev, after which, apparently, the authorities decided that Zeynalli was not going to repent.
On October 28, he was charged, under article 311 of the Criminal Code, and arrested under the charges alleging that Zeynalli attempted to extort money from the member of the Azerbaijani parliament Guler Ahmadova.
Guler Ahmadova, according to numerous witnesses, had for a long time been trying to convince the editor to be flexible and "work for the president’s team," but Zeynalli did not answer her calls and did not respond to the arguments of the mediators between the deputy and him. Elchin Sadikhov underined that the prosecution had no evidence showing that Avaz Zeynalli committed any crime. The latter, feeling a provocation, did not come in contact with Ahmedova, who was trying to meet with him. An appeal has already been filed. In case of failure, Zeynalli will complain to the European Court, the attorney said (Turan).
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