Afgan Mukhtarli denied house arrest

Afgan Mukhtarli

Afgan Mukhtarli

On 5 January, at the latest hearing in the trial of Afgan Mukhtarli, the journalist was denied the right to attend the funeral of three family members and to be released under house arrest.

Following the tragic death of Mukhtarli's sister, niece, and nephew on 31 December, defense lawyer Nemat Karimli filed a motion requesting house arrest for the grieving journalist. The request was denied, along with a request to allow Mukhtarli to attend the funeral.

Karimli continued his questioning of border guard Gafur Mammadov, who filed a complaint against Mukhtarli for injuries received in the course of the arrest.

“In your statement, you say that after 4 AM your head was spinning and that you didn’t feel well,” the defense lawyer began his question. “So you got permission and went to bed. And then you say that you carried out a review of the crime scene. Did you do it in your sleep, or with your head aching? How could someone with closed head injury stay on their feet for so long?”

Mammadov answered that he was given tea and started to feel better. He said he could not remember the name of the doctor or the room at Balakan hospital where his injuries were examined.

The defense lawyers then requested that statements released by the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor-General's Office regarding Afgan Mukhtarli be should be presented to the court. The judge ruled to add them to the evidence and the public prosecutor said he would review the documents and comment on them during the next hearing.

As during the last hearing, the names of everyone allowed into the court session were recorded. Attendees objected to this procedure, recalling that everyone should be able to attend a trial open to members of the public without having their names noted down, but the judge ignored their arguments.

The trial will continue on 12 January.

On 29 May, Afgan Mukhtarli disappeared in Tbilisi, Georgia, only to reappear under arrest in Baku. Azerbaijani authorities have charged Mukhtarli with crossing the border into Azerbaijan illegally, smuggling (he was allegedly carrying $10,000 at the time of his arrest), and resisting the orders of a police officer. The journalist himself has stated that he was kidnapped in Tbilisi and brought to Azerbaijan against his will.

Mukhtarli is an investigative journalist who has published several pieces at Meydan TV. His last contribution before his arrest was an article about politically-motivated kidnappings in Azerbaijan.

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