Forensic Linguistic Examination Appointed in Journalist Gulu Maharramli’s Court Case

June 14th, 2016

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Summary: Hearing 4

 Plaintiff Gulu Maharramli 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. Gulu Maharramli has appealed to the court due to the dissemination of libelous and offensive information about him;

 At today’s hearing, Gulu Maharramli’s representative Nijat Gozalov presented the case and requested the court to order that a refutation be published in the media about the falsity and groundlessness of the untrue information disseminated on Realmedia National Information Agency’s website, an apology be made to Gulu Maharramli and the article’s author Ilhama Novruzova be fined 1 AZN for moral damages;

 Defendant Ilhama Novruzova’s lawyer Arzu Aliyeva called the claim unfounded and asked for its dismissal;

 Plaintiff Gulu Maharramli’s representative Nijat Gozalov filed a motion to appoint forensic linguistic examination to determine whether the articles published on Realmedia National Information Agency’s website about Gulu Maharramli contained insulting comments. The motion was sustained.

Nasimi District Court chaired by Judge Khumar Mardanova held a hearing on the civil lawsuit lodged by journalist Gulu Maharramli against defendants Novruzova Ilhama Tofig gizi and Realmedia National Information Agency, seeking protection of honor and dignity and business reputation, a refutation combined with an apology, and compensation for moral damages. The hearing was attended by plaintiff Gulu Maharramli’s representative Nijat Gozalov and defendant Ilhama Novruzova’s lawyer Arzu Aliyeva.

“Gulu Maharramli’s family upbringing, education and good manners have inculcated in him such important traits as respectfulness to others, adherence to moral rules, accountability at work, holding the state’s name high at all time, and contribution to the development of journalism. He has always maintained his objectivity as a journalist and TV critic. Two articles authored by Ilhama Novruzova were published on Realmedia National Information Agency’s website on February 28, 2016: “History of a betrayal or Gulu Maharramli’s American adventures”, and “Gulu’s book… Written by Ilhama Novruzova- Part II, The secret of three P’s or ‘Professional’ Professor’s Plagiarism”. In those articles, Ilhama Novruzova slandered Gulu Maharramli by accusing him of the commission of less serious and serious crimes, and discredited and insulted him. Everything said or written by the defendant in those articles were libelous and were aimed at blackening Gulu Maharramli’s honor and dignity in the society and among colleagues, and damaging his reputation. His honor and dignity and business image were grossly smeared in those articles,” Nijat Gozalov said.

Representative Nijat Gozalov requested the court to order that a refutation be published in the media about the falsity and groundlessness of the untrue information disseminated on Realmedia National Information Agency’s website, an apology be made to Gulu Maharramli and the article’s author Ilhama Novruzova be fined 1 AZN for moral damages.

Speech by defendant’s lawyer:

Defendant Ilhama Novruzova’s lawyer Arzu Aliyeva made a speech, calling the claim completely unfounded. She said all of the information provided in the articles titled “History of a betrayal or Gulu Maharramli’s American adventures” and “Gulu’s book… Written by Ilhama Novruzova- Part II, The secret of three P’s or ‘Professional’ Professor’s Plagiarism” penned by Ilhama Novruzova and published on Realmedia National Information Agency on February 28, 2016 reflected the truth.

Motions filed by parties:

Plaintiff Gulu Maharramli’s representative Nijat Gozalov filed a verbal motion to appoint forensic linguistic examination to determine whether Ilhama Novruzova’s articles titled “History of a betrayal or Gulu Maharramli’s American adventures” and “Gulu’s book… Written by Ilhama Novruzova- Part II, The secret of three P’s or ‘Professional’ Professor’s Plagiarism” published on Realmedia National Information Agency’s website on February 28, 2016 contained insulting comments. The motion was sustained.

After that, defendant Ilhama Novruzova’s lawyer Arzu Aliyeva filed a verbal motion to send Ilhama Novruzova’s article titled “Gulu’s book… Written by Ilhama Novruzova- Part II, The secret of three P’s or ‘Professional’ Professor’s Plagiarism” published on Realmedia National Information Agency’s website on February 28, 2016 to the Copyright Agency in order to determine whether Gulu Maharramli’s statements quoted in the article were plagiaristic. This motion was also granted.

The hearing was postponed indefinitely, until expert opinions came in.

Background: In February 2016, Gulu Maharramli made critical comments about AZTV’s current head Arif Alishanov during his interview with moderator.az website on the 60th anniversary of TV broadcasting in Azerbaijan, after which various TV channels and websites aired and published materials against Gulu Maharramli.