Hearing “Khural” newspaper editor -in-chief Avaz Zeynalli’s lawsuit against the Press Council on July 21, the Supreme Court, chaired by judge Islam Aliyev, upheld the Appeal Court’s decision in the case.
Plaintiff Avaz Zeynalli’s lawyer Elchin Sadigov could not attend the process due to health reasons. Zeynalli told the court that the appellate court did not grant his lawsuit, despite sufficient evidence and witnesses presented. Judge Islam Aliyev responded that he cannot listen to the claimant in his lawyer’s absence. In response to the judge’s remark “I cannot understand why you are requesting that the Press Council pay 1 manat to the judge as compensation, when you’ve suffered non-pecuniary losses”, Zeynalli said “It is not the amount of compensation that matters, but silencing of the press”. Note that Zeynalli sued the Press Council in September 2011 for declaring Khural a “racket newspaper”. However his lawsuit was dismissed by Narimanov district court. The Court of Appeal similarly dismissed the case on February 28, 2014. Avaz Zeynalli is serving a nine year of jail sentence handed down on charges of bribery and extortion. The complaint against Zeynalli was filed by then-MP Gular Ahmadova. A number of international and local human rights organizations have recognized the editor-in-chief of Khural as the prisoner of conscience.