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JUDGE and JOURNALIST CLASH IN AZERI COURT

The Azeri Times

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An Azerbaijani journalist who disappeared in May off the streets near his home in Tbilisi, Georgia, and was next seen in custody in his native Azerbaijan, was put on trial Thursday for allegedly crossing the border illegally, carrying € 10,000 in undeclared currency, and resisting border guards, iFact.ge reported.

Afgan Mukhtarli claims he was kidnapped, forcibly taken across the border and then arrested after the money was planted on him.

Mukhtarli was vocal and hostile during the trial that took place in the rural city of Balaken in the far northwest of Azerbaijan. When the judge told him to show some respect, Mukhtarli replied: “I am not disrespectful. You are disrespectful. You don’t get acquainted with the case. You just grab the (case) file and come here and lie.”

At the start of the hearing the judge refused to let Mukhtarli sit with his lawyers but then changed his mind before ruling against all other motions sought by the defense.

Mukhtarli’s lawyers had asked for all charges against him to be dropped, jail to be replaced by home confinement, experts to analyze all fingerprints on the money he was allegedly carrying and surveillance videos from the border as well as from the first location where he was held in Azerbaijan to be presented.

Mukhtarli works for Meydan TV, an internet-based independent Azeri-language media outlet and is a member of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) investigative journalist network. He has exposed corruption in Azerbaijani Government and was investigating President Ilham Aliyev family’s ties with Georgian business associates.

The journalist and his family have been repeatedly threatened and harassed by the Azerbaijani authorities. They fled to Georgia in 2015 fearing the Azerbaijani government’s severe crackdown on critical journalists.

Before being taken into the courtroom through a side door he managed to tell reporters that his trial was “a show.”

The next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 14.

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Economics

Premium Gas prices hit two-year high in Azerbaijan

The Azeri Times

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In Azerbaijan, on the evening of August 19, petrol Premium Euro-95 and Super Euro-98 became more expensive. At petrol stations of the country on Sunday evening, petrol Premium Euro-95 was sold at 1.50 manat, and Super Euro-98 – at 1.60 manat.

Prior to the increase, the price of these brands was 1.25 and 1.5 manat, respectively.

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Azerbaijan

New Mercedes Police Cars for Azerbaijani Police

The Azeri Times

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Dozens of new Mercedes C-class cars have been purchased for the traffic police of Azerbaijan.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class will possibly replace BMW 3 series Police vehicles.  These cars were first brought to Baku in November last year and were tested by police. It turns out that after the tests, the State Traffic Police decided to buy a large number of these cars.

The news already had a public outcry. Many Baku citizens complain that this is a clear sign of Corruption in the Government. They also complain that Police will possibly pay for these cars via increased traffic tickets and bribery through traffic police.

 

 

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Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan population comes close to 10 million

The Azeri Times

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Azerbaijan’s population reached 9,936,134 as of July 1, according to the State Statistical Committee, Azerbaijan State News Agency informs.

Official figures show that the number of the country’s population grew by 38,049 people since the beginning of the year.

The population density is 115 people per square kilometre, the committee said.

According to official figures, 52.9 per cent of the population lives in cities and towns, while 47.1 per cent in villages. 49.9 per cent of the population are men, and 50.1 per cent are women, according to the committee.

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