Azerbaijan: Court convicts wrong man of knife attack on newspaper reporter

    MONTREAL, July 15 /CNW Telbec/ - A court in the Baku district of Nasimi
today sentenced Sergei Strekalin to 18 months in prison for a 13 March knife
attack on Azadlig reporter Agil Khalil although Khalil insisted throughout the
trial that Strekalin was not his assailant and that the trial had been staged
with the sole aim of discrediting him, Khalil.
    "We deplore the fact that the investigation into Khalil's attack led to
Strekalin's conviction and that Khalil's real assailants were left alone,"
Reporters Without Borders said. "This entire case was nothing but a sham
designed to give the impression that the attack was sex-related although
Khalil recognised security ministry employees among his assailants.
    Strekalin was convicted under criminal code article 127.1 (deliberate
injury) and article 234.1 (possession of drugs). Khalil insisted that the
investigation was not objective and that Strekalin had not attacked him. When
judge Shahin Abdullayev issued his verdict today, Khalil exclaimed: "Shame on
this unfair court!"
    Khalil and his lawyer said they would appeal against the verdict.

For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4188, Fax: (514)

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