Bank account of Azadliq newspaper unfrozen

June 28th, 2013

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The bank account of the Azadliq newspaper, frozen following the lawsuit of Baku Metro head Tagi Ahmadov, has been unfrozen by the June 19 decision of Nasimi District Court, the first deputy of the newspaper Rahim Hajiyev told the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) on June 27.

“According to our agreement with the opposite party, we will monthly pay 400 manats to a children’s home. The beneficiary is yet to be selected. Its name will be determined by the plaintiff’s lawyer” said Hajiyev.

Background: Head of Baku Metro, Tagi Ahmadov, initiated action with the Yasamal District Court against Azadliq newspaper, claiming that his dignity, honour and business reputation had been damaged in the article titled “Tagi Ahmadov misappropriated five kopecks”, published in the April 8 issue of the newspaper. The article noted that after metro fares were raised to 20 kopecks it became impossible to use five kopeck payments previously loaded onto metro cards. Ahmadov was asking the court to require that the newspaper issue a retraction and pay damages of 200,000 AZN (approx. US$255,000). On 13 June 2012, the Yasamal District Court issued a ruling ordering the newspaper to publish a retraction and pay 30,000 AZN to Ahmadov in compensation. On September 13, Baku Appeals Court upheld this decision.  A cassation appeal against this decision was rejected by the Supreme Court on 14 February 2013.  On April 5, 2013 Yasamal District Department for the Execution of Judgments sent a notice to the newspaper’s editorial office which required that it fulfill the court decision within 10 days. The notice stated that after the expiration of the period, mandatory execution of the judgment would be applied. OnApril 16 the bank account of the newspaper was frozen by the decision of Yasamal District Court.