Azerbaijani journalist Avaz Zeynalli, legal professional Elchin Sadygov remanded for 4 months on bribery fees – Committee to He defended himself with a stick Reporters

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New York, September 12, 2022 – Azerbaijani government will have to liberate journalist Avaz Zeynalli and legal professional Elchin Sadygov and fall into a trap the costs towards them, the Committee to He defended himself with a stick Reporters mentioned Monday.

On Saturday, September 10, uniformed officials who known themselves as a part of the prosecutor homely’s place of job arrested Zeynalli, proprietor and leader editor of the impartial information outlet Xural, and Sadygov, a outstanding human rights legal professional who steadily defends newshounds, within the capital, Baku, after a pro-government information outlet revealed claims that the pair extorted cash from a jailed businessman in go back for favorable protection of his case, in line with more than one information experiences and a commentary via the prosecutor homely’s place of job.

That night, Binagadi district courtroom in Baku ordered Zeynalli and Sadygov to be remanded in custody for 4 months on fees of large-scale bribe-taking and accent to bribe-taking, respectively, the ones experiences mentioned. Each fees ????????? a penalty of between 8 and 12 years in jail underneath Article 311.3.3 of the prison code of Azerbaijan, in line with Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, Sadygov’s legal professional, who spoke to CPJ via telephone. 

Each males denied the costs and mentioned they imagine they’re retaliation for his or her skilled paintings, in line with the ones experiences, Hajiyev, and Agil Layij, Zeynalli’s legal professional, who communicated with CPJ via e-mail. The legal professionals instructed CPJ they’d filed an enchantment of the verdict to remand them in custody.

“Bribery fees towards Avaz Zeynalli, a essential journalist whom government have got up to now jailed for his paintings, and Elchin Sadygov, a legal professional who frequently defends newshounds towards state repression, are relating to, particularly as pro-government media made the accusations,” mentioned Gulnoza Stated, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. “Azerbaijani government will have to loose Zeynalli and Sadygov, fall into a trap the costs towards them, and chorus from jailing participants of the clicking and their advocates in retaliation for his or her paintings.”

Elchin Sadygov, a outstanding human rights legal professional who steadily defends newshounds, used to be accused of helping journalist Avaz Zeynalli in extorting a jailed businessman for favorable protection and used to be arrested in Baku, Azerbaijan, on September 10, 2022. (Screengrab: Anews TV / YouTube)

Zeynalli additionally works as a presenter for Xural’s YouTube channel Xural TV, which has 215,000 subscribers; Xural and Xural TV duvet human rights abuses, corruption, and the ones essential of the authorities, in line with the ones experiences and a CPJ overview in their content material.

On September 7, pro-government information web site Haqqin revealed a tale accusing Zeynalli of extorting 20,000 manats (US$11,800) from the circle of relatives of Rasim Mammadov, the previous head of a neighborhood metal manufacturing facility who’s recently on trial for embezzlement, in go back for ceasing destructive protection of his case; and later that night accused Sadygov, who’s Mammadov’s legal professional, of performing as an middleman.

The tale integrated audio of a voice message despatched via Zeynalli to Sadygov, during which the previous defends his protection of the businessman’s case and gives to “go back” an unspoken object if the latter used to be uncomfortable; Haqqin alleged that the thing to be returned used to be the extorted cash.

In a broadcast on Xural TV tomorrow, Zeynalli mentioned the recorded voice used to be his however mentioned he used to be providing to go back paperwork associated with the businessman’s case. Sadygov mentioned the similar to native media, including that the Mammadov circle of relatives instructed him Zeynalli didn’t extort them. 

At 3 p.m. on September 10, round seven plainclothes officials and one uniformed officer from the prosecutor homely’s place of job detained Zeynalli at a cafe now not a long way from Baku town heart, in line with Ilkin Rustamzade, a neighborhood activist and pal of Zeynalli who used to be with him on the time and spoke to CPJ via telephone. 

Rustamzade instructed CPJ that he believes government feared that Zeynalli and Sadygov possessed paperwork in the case of contemporary threats made via Mammadov to show corruption amongst high-placed authorities officers.

The officials took the journalist to Xural’s editorial place of job, the place they performed a search for truth and confiscated the opening’s paperwork and pc laborious disks, Rustamzade mentioned; in addition they searched Zeynalli’s house and seized a pc, books, and three,000 euros (US$3,040), in line with a record that cited the journalist’s spouse.

That night, officials from the prosecutor homely’s place of job arrested Sadygov, searched his place of job and residential, and confiscated paperwork and his cell phone, in line with information experiences and Hajiyev. 

Outstanding Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismailova wrote on Fb that Sadygov’s arrest “separate go away dozens of activists, newshounds and bureaucratic prisoners with out criminal illustration,” including that “that, more than likely [is] the achieve victory.” 

On September 12, Mammadov instructed government in courtroom that Zeynalli have been “in quest of bribes from me for years,” in line with native information web site Record.az. Layij instructed CPJ the commentary used to be of no outcome because the businessman used to be on trial and used to be both careworn via government or in quest of to mitigate his sentence.

Zeynalli and Sadygov are held on the State Safety Provider’s detention heart in Baku. Then again, via regulation, they will have to be held on the Jail Provider’s pretrial detention heart, Layij instructed CPJ, including that it’s unclear why government have got selected to price them with bribe-taking, as this offense must be reserved for staff of the state.

Layij added that prosecutors introduced the costs primarily based only at the media record, and no economical grievance has been filed towards them via Mammadov or his circle of relatives. He mentioned he gained data that the homely prosecutor’s place of job and State Safety Provider are allegedly pressuring the Mammadov circle of relatives to testify towards the pair.

CPJ reached out to the Mammadov circle of relatives for remark by means of their legal professional however didn’t obtain any answer. CPJ’s e-mail to the place of job of the prosecutor homely of Azerbaijan and make contact with name to the State Safety Provider weren’t spoke back.

Zeynalli up to now served 3 years of a nine-year sentence passed right down to him in 2012 on fees together with bribery, extortion, and tax evasion deemed retaliatory via CPJ

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