JUDGE ACCEPTS LAWSUIT AGAINST NEWSPAPER DESPITE LACK OF EVIDENCE

July 10th, 2008
Today (10 July) a preliminary hearing on the lawsuit of “Azadlig Herekatchilari” Union against “Azadlig” newspaper was conducted in the Yasamal District Court under the chairmanship of Judge Elchin Gurbanbayov.

The plaintiff’s representative Ogtay Avazoglu said they stand by their claim, and added that considering the case is very important. Avazoglu then read the request part of the lawsuit aloud.
“Azadlig” newspaper director Azer Ahmadov said the lawsuit is ridiculous and asked the judge not to consider the case.
“Tahmasib Novruzov doesn’t have any relationship to the creation and foundation of the ‘Azadlig’ Newspaper. You know that the Press and Information Ministry registered the newspapers before in Azerbaijan. “Azadlig” newspaper was registered in this ministry twice: in 1993 and in 1996. The certificate received in 1996 was introduced to you and it is shown there who the founders are,” he emphasized. Ahmadov, saying that Tahmasib Novruzov was member of APF (Azerbaijan Popular Front) in 1989-1991, added that he was first left APF and then APFP (Azerbaijan Popular Front Party).
The newspaper’s defense lawyer E. Sadigov said the lawsuit is absurd and asked whether the opposite side had any documents proving that T. Novruzov was “Azadlig” newspaper’s founder. The plaintiff’s representatives presented a copy of a card showing that Novruzov was the member of APF Supreme Assembly member. Sadigov noted that a copy cannot be accepted as a document, and emphasized that such a document doesn’t prove that Novruzov was one of the founders of the newspaper.
Then the judge suggested that the two sides reach some sort of agreement, but the plaintiff didn’t agree to this. When the judge asked whether the sides had any motions, the plaintiff gave a written motion about banning any articles in “Azadlig” newspaper about “Azadlig Herekatchilari” Union and its Chairman Tahmasib Novruzov during court investigation.  The judge returned the motion since it was not signed.
After listening to both sides, the judge left for deliberations. Upon returning, he announced the case had been accepted for consideration.
The next hearing was scheduled to take place on 25 July at 3:00 pm.
At the beginning of today’s hearing the employees of the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety appealed to the judge to get a permission to take pictures and to film. The judge learned the position of the sides about this. The defendant side didn’t object, but the plaintiff side objected to filming. In particular, one of the plaintiff’s representatives substantiated his position in a ridiculous way. “I might change my image tomorrow and I won’t want to look as I will in these pictures,” he said.
After a small deliberation, the judge decided not to permit photographing or filming during the hearing.