Today, January 13, in the Yasamal District Court, under the chairmanship of Judge Khagani Mammedov, the closed trial for the lawsuit of Secondary School #21 Director Ferrukh Aghasiyev and the same school’s deputy director Zohra Yusubov’s lawsuit against employees of the “Gundalik Baki” Newspaper. The lawsuit is in the special form and could result in the defendants’ arrest. The lawyer Bakikhan Yusifov participated in the hearing on behalf of the plaintiff, while “Gundalik Baki” Newspaper founder and chied editor Habil Valiyev and newspaper’s deputy editor Uzeyir Jafarov participated for the defense. U. Jafarov told this to the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety.
“At the beginning of the hearing, Judge Khagani Mammedov asked Bakikhan Yusifov about the plaintiff’s position on reconciling with the ‘Gundalik Baki’ Newspaper’s editorial staff,” said Jafarov. “In response, Yusifov expressed that his client had no intent to reconcile and wanted to the court to consider the lawsuit.” Then, according to Jafarov, Yusifov’s health suddenly deteriorated, and as a result, Judge Mammedov postponed the continuation of the hearing until January 22 at 3 p.m.
This lawsuit stems from the article entitled "5th grader raped," and subtitled "Leadership of School #21 conceals fact" which was published in the 7 November 2008 issue # 203 (274) of "Gundalik Baki" Newspaper. In the article, it is alleged that a fifth-grader was raped in School #21 and the school’s leadership concealed this. The plaintiff’s allege that this article insulted their honor and dignity, and damaged their professional reputation, a violation of article 147.2 of Azerbaijan’s Criminal Code. Therefore, the plaintiffs are seeking the cessation of the production and dissemination of the “Gundalik Baku” Newspaper, the institution of a 10,000 AZN fine against the newspaper and the institution of a 15,000 AZN fine against the author of the aforementioned article.