A criminal case has been launched against editor-in-chief of Khural newspaper Avaz Zeynalli. Last week, bailiffs arrived at the newspaper office to confiscate all of Khural’s property.
The Justice Ministry told Turan Information Agency that a case has been launched under Article 306.2 of the Criminal Code (contempt of court).
The ministry said that an investigation is underway regarding this issue. Under the pending charges, a person can be sentenced to 3 years in jail.
The case against the editor-in-chief is based on his non-adherence to the court decision that called for Khural newspaper to pay 10 000 AZN to Ramiz Mehdiyev and 5 000 AZN to Vugar Safarli. Ramiz Mehdiyev, the head of the Presidential Administration, and Vugar Safarli, chairman of State Support to the Development of Mass Media filed the lawsuits against editor-in-chief, accusing Khural of insulting their honor and dignity.
The newspaper failed to pay, and so on October 19th, the executors from Narimanov District Court reviewed and confiscated the property of Khural newspaper’s editorial office. The equipment purchased after September 20th 2011 was included in the inventory. Only a small proportion of the confiscated equipment was actually owned by Khural newspaper, as the court executors’ inventory included property of Liberal.az website, whose office is situated in the same building, in addition to computers lent to Khural by other organizations.
However, in the official information provided by the Justice Ministry on the case, Mehdiyev and Safarli are not mentioned. The names of singer Nushaba Alasgarli and the director of Azerbaijan publishing house Agabey Asgarov do appear, however.
The Justice Ministry claims that a criminal case was opened against the editor-in-chief because he refused to pay compensation to the two plaintiffs.
To note, in May of this year, the property of Khural newspaper was inventoried in preparation for a 10 000 AZN fine requested by a lawsuit filed by the head of the Presidential Administration Ramiz Mehdiyev, a 5000 AZN fine relating to a lawsuit filed by the executive director of the State Support Foundation to Mass Media Vufar Safarli, and a 4000 AZN fine relating to the lawsuit filed by singer Nushaba Alasgarli. The newspaper appealed for the termination of the execution of these fines due to lack of funds.
Khural newspaper was established as a weekly publication in October 2002. On September 20, 2011, it began publishing daily.