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Former Accuser Testifies In Azerbaijani Journalist Ismayilova's Trial

Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova, 39, has reported extensively on the financial dealings of President Ilham Aliyev.

BAKU -- The trial of Azerbaijani investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova has continued in Baku with testimony from the man the authorities say she pushed to attempt suicide.

Also on August 10 the trial of two prominent Azerbaijani human rights activists was postponed until August 13 at the request of one of the defendants.

Ismayilova, a contributor to RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service, was detained in December 2014 on charges of inciting former colleague Tural Mustafayev to commit suicide. Prosecutors later charged her with embezzlement, tax evasion, and abuse of power.

On August 10, Mustafayev said he suffered a nervous breakdown in the past due to differences with his fiancee and that Ismayilova had nothing to do with his suicide attempt.

On July 24, Mustafayev told a preliminary hearing that he had "defamed" Ismayilova under pressure from law enforcement agencies, but a defense motion to dismiss the charge was rejected.

Ismayilova, 39, has reported extensively on the financial dealings of President Ilham Aliyev -- who has tolerated little dissent and shrugged off Western criticism since he succeeded his father as president in 2003 -- and members of his family.

She says the charges against her are an attempt to silence her reporting.

Meanwhile, a Baku judge postponed until August 13 the next hearing in the trial of prominent human rights activists Leyla and Arif Yunus. The delay came at the request of Leyla Yunus, and marks the first time the court has granted a defense request.

Lelya Yunus is the award-winning founder of the Baku-based Peace and Democracy Institute. Her husband, Arif, is a historian and rights activist.

The two were arrested in the summer of 2014 and are charged with treason, fraud, forgery, tax evasion, and illegal business activities.

They deny the allegations, which they say are part of a broad crackdown against Azerbaijani civil society.

Last week prosecutors asked the court to sentence Leyla Yunus to 11 years in prison and Arif Yunus to nine years.