Azerbaijan: Mukhtarli Accuser Fails to Appear in Court

The border guard who accused an Azerbaijani journalist of assaulting him while illegally crossing the border from Georgia failed to appear on Friday  at an Appeals Court hearing in Shaki.

MukhtarliPhotoAfgan Mukhtarli entering the courtAfgan Mukhtarli took his six year jail sentence to the Appeal Court. He was convicted for illegally crossing the border, with having an undeclared 10,000 euro in his pocket, and assaulting border guard Gafur Mammadov

Mammadov did not show up in the courtroom. Mukhtarli again told the judge that he was abducted in Georgia last May, forced across the border with the money planted in his pocket and then taken to prison in Baku.

"Top employees of the military units were involved in this operation - a lieutenant colonel, a colonel. I'm surprised you didn't involve the major-general," Mukhtari told the court, drawing a warning from the judge.

He also told the judge he had no faith in the Appeals Court making a fair decision, but considers the process to be necessary before his case is heard in the European Court of Appeals in Strasbourg.

Mukhtarli accused the Azerbaijan prosecutors of not allowing him to speak to Georgian investigators about what happened that night on the Georgia side of the border.

The hearing was attended by his relatives and activists from both Azerbaijan and Georgia.

The judge scheduled the next hearing for March 14 at 3 pm. The judge said notification would be sent to the border guard Mammadov.