The trial of Faig Amirov, the financial director of Azadlig newspaper as well as member of the opposition Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA) has begun.
During the preparatory meeting held on May 19 at the Sabail District Court of Baku, the court rejected all motions presented by the defense.
“The court from the first meeting showed bias”, Amirov’s lawyer was quoted by
“The investigation first wrote that a book about Fethullah Gulen and a disk of religious content were found in the car of Faig Amirov. However, then they realized that the book was officially printed and its author is an authoritative scholar and that it would have been impossible to use it as evidence. So they removed the book from the list of “evidence.” As for the disc, its content was published earlier on YouTube”, the Lawyer Fakhraddin Mehdiyev was quoted by
During the meeting, the defense asked to videotape the trial, to allow Amirov to sit with lawyers and not in a glass partition, to stop the criminal proceedings on justifiable grounds, and in case of the rejection of this request – to change the measure of arrest to house arrest.
Amirov was arrested on August 20 of 2016 for allegedly being connected to the Gulen movement, which Turkey and Azerbaijan both recognize as a terrorist group. After being charged with inciting inter-religious hostility and infringing on the rights of citizens under the pretext of performing religious rituals, on April 17 he was also charged with abuse of authority and tax evasion.
On May 10 the Amirov case was sent to court.
According to the investigation, books related to the Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen were found at Amirov’s residence. However, members of the opposition believe that the Amirov arrest is politically motivated and that the affiliation with the Gulen movement is used as an excuse to arrest activists.
The defense lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in October 2016.
Amirov denies all charges against him.
Amirov ranks 109 in the list of
compiled by the Working Group on a Unified List of Political Prisoners in Azerbaijan, which brings together human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and experts.