The Azerbaijani authorities must ensure a prompt and fair retrial after a new, impartial, investigation of independent journalist Avaz Zeynali, Amnesty International said after a Baku court sentenced him to nine years in prison in an unfair trial on charges that appear to have been politically motivated.
The court should also strongly consider his release pending the retrial. Under international law anyone held on a criminal charge is entitled to a fair trial within a reasonable time or conditional release. Avaz Zeynalli has already spent 16 months in detention while his trial was ongoing.
“The trial against Avaz Zeynalli was deeply flawed. There are good reasons to believe that Zeynalli’s prosecution and conviction were politically motivated,” said David Diaz-Jogeix, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Program Director at Amnesty International.
On 12 March a Baku court for grave crimes found the editor of the Khural newspaper guilty of bribery, extortion by threats, failure to implement a court decision and tax evasion. He was arrested on charges of blackmail and extortion on 28 October 2011 and has remained in detention ever since.