On February 9, at the Baku Serious Crimes Court at the trial in the case of Avaz Zeynalli, the head of the Xural TV Internet resource, and the head of the Sada TV YouTube channel Elnur Shukurov the floor was given to defense.
In his closing speech, lawyer Agil Laidj pointed out the groundlessness of Zeynalli’s accusations of bribery, since Zeynalli is not an official and is not the subject of this crime. He pointed to precedent decisions of the Supreme Court when journalists were not recognized as an official. In general, according to the lawyer, all episodes of this case are far-fetched and the criminal prosecution of Zenyalli is political in nature. He asked the court to acquit Zeynalli.
Elnur Shukurov’s lawyer also declared his client’s innocence and asked the court to issue an acquittal verdict. The judge announced an appeal from residents of the Jalilabad region signed by 350 pe4ople who asked the court to consider that Shukurov provided humanitarian assistance to the Fuzuli hospital during the 44-day Karabakh war in 2020 and acquit him.
Zeynalli’s defense also petitioned to provide him with medical care, considering the cataract in his left eye. The next court hearing was scheduled for February 23.
Earlier, the prosecutor asked the court to find Zeynalli guilty under Article 311 (taking a bribe) and Article 312-1.1 (illegal influence on the decision of an official (trading authority) of the Criminal Code, and sentence him to 10 years in prison. The prosecutor proposed to convict Shukurov under Article 312-1.1 to five years in prison.
* Lawyer Elchin Sadigov and founder of the Khural TV website Avaz Zeynalli were detained on September 10 on suspicion of accepting a bribe, and on September 11, the court arrested both. According to the investigation, Zeynalli, through the mediation of Sadigov, received money from the family of the arrested businessman Rasim Mammadov in order not to publish defamatory information about him. On September 17, the Baku Court of Appeal transferred Sadigov to house arrest, separating his case into a separate proceeding.
Later, Zeynalli was charged under the Article 312-1.1 (Illegal influence on the decision of an official (trafficking in authority) of the Criminal Code. Shukurov was also arrested on the same charge.