January 27th, 2009
Azerbaijan International University (AIU) Director Elshad Abdullayev has filed a lawsuit against “Tezadlar” Newspaper Chief Editor Asif Merzili. Merzili told this to the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety. He said, “In connection with articles published in August 2008 in ‘Tezadlar’ Newspaper about the disappearance of Elshad Abdullayev’s brother Mahir Abdullayev, he filed a lawsuit in October 2008 on the basis of Criminal Code articles 147.2 and 148. The lawsuit is in the special form (i.e. could lead to the arrest of the defendant). In the lawsuit, the closure of ‘Tezadlar’ Newspaper and the institution of a 30,000 AZN fine are also sought.” 

According to Merzili, during a 26 November hearing on this case in the Yasamal District Court under the chairmanship of Abbas Rzayev, a motion was put forth to send the articles that the lawsuit is based on for expert assessment. The judge accepted this motion and the court also issued a decision that “Tezadlar” cannot write another article about this topic until the results come back from the assessment.
“The press has been writing about the disappearance of Mahir Abdullayev since 2003. The articles that were run in ‘Tezadlar’ Newspaper are about the law enforcement agencies that worked on this case, and there are no elements of insult or slander,” said Merzili.
The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety attempted to contact Elshad Abdullayev about this lawsuit to learn his position. AIU Press Service Employee Abbas Rustamov said that Abdullayev’s lawsuit against Merzili was not in the special form or even a criminal case, but rather a civil case. Regarding the cause of the lawsuit, Rustamov said the articles were slanderous, and refused to make any further comments.