Trial of young opposition members starts in Azeri capital

ANS TV, Baku
31 Mar 06

[Presenter] The trial of three members of the [opposition] Yeni Fikir
youth organization started today. They are charged with meeting
members of the Armenian security services in Tbilisi in July 2005
and accepting 2,000 dollars as payment for the task given to them.
According to information obtained during an investigation, the task
was to attempt to overthrow the [Azerbaijani] government.

[Correspondent over video of the trial] The leader of Yeni Fikir,
Ruslan Basirli, and his deputies, Said Nuriyev and Ramin Tagiyev,
face charges under articles 278, 192.2.1 and 192.2.2 of the Criminal
Code, that is an attempted coup d'etat and illegal entrepreneurship.

Judge Tofiq Pasayev presided over a preliminary session and allowed
reporters to film the trial only for several minutes. Petitions filed
by defence lawyers Osman Kazimov and Elcin Qambarov were the most
noteworthy part of the session. They said that the list of evidence
submitted to the judge is not satisfactory and that there are gaps
on the list. For instance, the prosecution has failed to produce
any evidence showing that Merabi Dzhibutia and Giorgi Isparyan, whom
Basirli met in Tbilisi, were members of the Armenian intelligence,
Osman Kazimov said. Second, the name of the embassy where the
defendants met and received instructions on preparing a coup d'etat
is not mentioned.

[Passage omitted: Prosecutor said that there is enough evidence,
judge decided to conduct the trial behind closed doors for national
security reasons]