BAKU: Azeri opposition leaders sue presidential aide for puttingpres

Azeri opposition leaders sue presidential aide for putting pressure on court

Muxalifat, Baku,
30 May 04

Text of Sabina Avazqizi report by Azerbaijani newspaper Muxalifat
on 30 May headlined “Leaders sue Ramiz Mehdiyev” and sub-headed
“Demanding that legal action be taken against him”

As we have reported, the head of the presidential administration,
Ramiz Mehdiyev, in an interview with one of newspapers, has commented
on the trial of the opposition leaders who were illegally arrested
in the aftermath of the 15-16 October developments [post-election
riots in Baku].

The official fully dedicated his comments to putting pressure on the
court and abused his power to accuse the opposition leaders. He said
that by refusing to attend the court hearings, the leaders cannot
succeed in putting pressure on anyone.

Mehdiyev also expressed some negative opinions about the leaders. He
said that the leaders, who are currently being kept at the
[high-security] Bayil prison, want their trial to last till October
in order to create even more hue and cry over their detention because
of the municipal elections which are due at that time.

Seeing this as an insult, the leaders have lodged a suit with the
Sabayil district court. The suit says:

“In an interview with Sarq newspaper on 28 May, the head of the
Azerbaijani presidential administration, Ramiz Mehdiyev, said that
‘those in the opposition who organized the 16 October clashes will
not succeed in putting pressure on anyone by refusing to attend
the court hearings’. Also, in his interviews with ATV and Lider TV
channels, Ramiz Mehdiyev accused us of trying to delay the trial
until the October municipal elections in order to receive money from
foreign countries. Therefore, by accusing us of involvement in the
organization of the 16 October disturbances, by libeling us and by
saying inaccurately that we intend to receive money from abroad,
Ramiz Mehdiyev has committed a crime punishable under Article 147
of the Azerbaijani Criminal Code. At the same time, the high-ranking
official abused his power to put pressure on the court.

“Taking the above into account and governed by Article 37.2 of the
Code on Criminal Procedures, we request you to institute criminal
proceedings against the head of the presidential administration,
Ramiz Mehdiyev.”

The suit has been signed by the chairman of the People’s Party of
Azerbaijan, Panah Huseyn, the deputy chairmen of the Musavat Party,
Arif Hacili and Ibrahim Ibrahimli, the editor-in-chief of Yeni
Musavat newspaper, Rauf Arifoglu, the chairman of the Hope Party,
MP Iqbal Agazada, the secretary-general of the Democratic Party
of Azerbaijan, Sardar Calaloglu, and the chairman of the Union of
Karabakh war veterans, Etimad Asadov.