Court Refuses to Accept Journalist Gulu Maharramli’s Libel Lawsuit for Consideration

April 28th, 2016

Summary: Hearing 2 (April 28)

  • Gulu Maharramli, the plaintiff who has brought the private prosecution for defamation, is a journalist, TV critic, Doctor of Philology, Professor at Baku State University, Chairman of the Fund for Advancement of Journalism, Department Head at the Institute of Linguistics named after Nasimi of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, and Honored Journalist of Azerbaijan Republic. In court, Gulu Maharramli is represented by lawyer Javid Rzazade.

  • The defendant Rauf Rajabov is the deputy director of Creative Community “Carchifilm” of Public Television and Radio Broadcasting Company. Rauf Rajabov is represented by lawyer Elnur Guliyev.

  • At today’s hearing, Rauf Rajabov’s lawyer Elnur Guliyev said there was no insult in his client’s article about Gulu Maharramli and therefore, the case could not proceed to trial.

  • Rauf Rajabov also made a speech and said the charges were unfounded.

  • Gulu Maharramli’s lawyer Javid Rzazade requested that the case proceed to trial.

  • After a brief deliberation, the presiding judge decided to refer the complaint to Nasimi District Court for consideration, according to the territorial jurisdiction. The judge substantiated his decision by pointing out that the media organization, which published the article that has caused the dispute, is located in Nasimi district.

Sabail District Court, under the chairmanship of Judge Rauf Ahmadov, held another hearing on the private prosecution for libel brought by journalist Gulu Maharramli against Rauf Rajabov, the deputy director of Creative Community “Carchifilm” of Public Television and Radio Broadcasting Company. Gulu Maharramli wants Rauf Rajabov to be sanctioned under Articles 147 (libel) and 148 (insult) of the Criminal Code for his article published on 7news.az website. In Rauf Rajabov’s article, the TV critic was accused of plagiarism and misappropriation of public property by abusing his official position while he was working for AZTV. Recall that, in February of this year, Gulu Maharramli’s critical comments about AZTV’s leadership made during his interview on the 60th anniversary of TV broadcasting in Azerbaijan led to a major scandal between Maharramli and AZTV chairman Arif Alishanov. TV channels and other media organizations broadcasted and published materials against Gulu Maharramli. Arif Alishanov has also brought a private prosecution and civil lawsuit against Gulu Maharramli for libel.

At the hearing, the presiding judge asked both parties’ opinions on whether the case should proceed to trial.

Rauf Rajabov’s lawyer Elnur Guliyev said there was no insult in his client’s article about Gulu Maharramli and therefore, the case could not proceed to trial.

Rauf Rajabov said the charges were unfounded. He noted that there was nothing in his article that constituted an offence.

TV journalist Gulu Maharramli and his lawyer Javid Rzazade requested that the case proceed to trial.

After a brief deliberation, the presiding judge decided to refer the complaint to Nasimi District Court for consideration, according to the territorial jurisdiction. The case was referred to Nasimi District Court. The judge substantiated his decision by pointing out that the media organization, which published the article that has caused the dispute, is located in Nasimi district.