NIDA Trial Continues (UPDATED)

The detainees read their closing speech on May 1.

UPDATE May 1, Baku

During today’s court hearing Rashadat Akhundov delivered the closing speech on behalf of all eight arrested NIDA activists. The sentence will be read on May 6.

The activists have been on a hunger strike for 15 consecutive days. According to their lawyers their overall health conditions have worsened.

UPDATE April 25, Baku

NIDA trial continued on April 25. As the lawyers proceeded with their closing arguments, the eight activists asked to make the general closing argument on behalf of them all. In order to prepare, the defendants asked for the next court hearing to be held on Thursday May 1. The verdict is expected to come during the hearing on May 1 or 2.

UPDATE April 24, Baku

On April 24 lawyers of the NIDA activists read their closing arguments in the Baku Court of Grave Crimes. The lawyer Fahraddin Mehdiyev said that charges were not proven during the trial. “Charges against Mr. Uzeyir Mammadli are groundless and illegal. Uzeyir’s confessions were obtained with physical violence. I want him to be acquitted.”

The lawyer Javad Javadov said that he doesn’t expect a fair decision from the court. “Why are these young people on a hunger strike? Why do they risk their health? It is all because they do not expect justice from the court. They do not want your mercy, but just decision. My plea is, no matter how hard it is for you, please make a just decision.”

Later in his speech, the lawyer, Mr. Elton Quliyev pointed out how wrong it is to arrest young people for expressing different opinions.”This matter is like a collision of Harlem Shake with heyvagulu dance. This criminal case is an art work, rather a badly written one. One of the sentences used in the indictment consisted of 184 words. Ilkin Rustamzade fairly pointed out that he did not understand the charges. The 184-words-long sentence should be included in the Guinness Book of World Records.”

The lawyer Fariz Namazli asked for all the young men to be acquitted. “For the hooliganism to be recognized someone needs to be a victim of violence. If the statue faced violent act at some point, it had to be brought to the court. The statue had to name the people it was complaining about. However, I think the statue had no complaints whatsoever.”

Although their parents requested the young people to stop the hunger strike, they refused to do so. “We will fight in every possible way. Whether hungry or not, we will continue our struggle,” Zaur Gurbanli, one of the detained activists, said.

NIDA trial will continue on April 25. The verdict is expected to be read any day.

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