APPEAL SENT TO EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS REGARDING LAWSUIT AGAINST “AZADLIG” NEWSPAPER

November 20th, 2009
The lawyers of Azadlig newspaper sent an appeal to European Court of Human Rights. Defenders of the newspaper consider that the decision adopted by the local courts against Azadlig newspaper on the basis of the lawsuit by Economic Development Minister Heydar Babayev is unfounded.

The lawyers requested that the European Court of Human Rights recognize that the applicants’ right to freedom of expression envisaged in article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and right to fair trial under article 6 were violated, and secure the payment for material damages from the Azerbaijani Government.

Economic Development Minister Heydar Babayev filed a lawsuit in the Yasamal District Court against Azadlig Newspaper Editor Genimet Zahid and Azadlig correspondent Adil Khalil in connection with the 5 September 2007 Azadlig Newspaper article "Azerbaijanis Paid for Mathew Bryza's Wedding?" In the article it was written that Heydar Babayev paid for a significant part of Mathew Bryza and Zeyno Baran's wedding." Babayev claimed that that this was defamation against him, and was therefore seeking the publication of a refutation and asked the court to bring Zahid and Agil Khalil (Khalil lives in France) to criminal responsibility, implying that they should be imprisoned. The Yasamal District Court partially fulfilled the lawsuit against the journalists and demanded that they apologize to the plaintiff and publish a refutation. The Appellate Court and the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the lower court.