Yesterday (January 21) in the Narimanov District Court under the chairmanship of the Judge Asif Allahverdiyev a verdict was adopted on the lawsuit put forth by Yevlakh region’s head of the executive administration and Yevlakh community against “Khural” Newspaper.
According to the verdict, Newspaper Chief-in-Editor Avaz Zeynalli must serve 2 years of corrective labor and Vugar Gurdganli, the author of the article which sparked the lawsuit, must serve 1.5 years of corrective labor. Twenty percent of Zeynalli and Gurdganli’s salaries must also be paid to the state during this period. Avaz Zeynalli told this to the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety, adding that he pans to file an appeal against the decision as soon as the Narimanov District Court introduces the decision to them.
Recall that, this case stems from the article “Power belongs to the Valiyevs’, not he Aliyevs’” which was run in the 21-27 October 2007 edition of “Khural,” “Elmar Valiyev deceives Ilham Aliyev” which was run in the 4-10 November 2007 edition of “Khual,” and “Yevlakh LLC in the name of Elmar Valiyev” which was run in the 11-17 November 2007 edition of “Khural” Newspaper. Yevlakh City’s Executive Administration, Yevlakh region elders and intellectuals were seeking the imprisonment of Newspaper Editor-in-Chief Avaz Zeynalli and the author of article Vugar Gurdganli due to libel and defamation, article 147 and 148 of the Republic of Azerbaijan’s Criminal Code. They were also seeking the payment of 150,000 AZN in moral damages by the defendants. As the contents of the lawsuits were same, the judge decided to consider all of the lawsuits together.
IRFS notes that this is second court decision adopted against Zeynalli in the last seven days. On Thursday of last week, he was also convicted of committing libel and defamation on the basis of a lawsuit put forth by "Azerbaijan" Publishing House director Agabay Asgarov. In that case Zeynalli received 1.5 years of corrective labor, during which he must pay15% of his salary to the state.