A press conference held today (May 16) at IRFS Media Center raised an alarm over the risk of possible arrest of Gundam Khabar newspaper founder Shirin Jafari Editor of Gundam Khabar, Nasimi Sharafkhanli, said that at the trial held in Ganja city the public prosecutor requested a 5-year prison term for Jafari. The defense managed to achieve a delay in the judge’s decision, but the next hearing will take place very soon, on May 20.
Sharafkhanli also spoke about the pressure against the newspaper and the events which led to the judicial process. According to him, in May of 2010 the Press Council made a complaint to the Anti-Corruption Office against Gundam Khabar.
Shirin Jafari and his lawyer Elchin Sadigov noted that the calculation of the tax evasion was not done correctly. They said that the circulation of the newspaper has been exaggerated, as was done in the case against Khural newspaper.
“The investigation team calculated 100% sale of the papers, and did not consider unsold papers and also expenses, which resulted in a 71,000 AZN tax evasion. While in fact, only 2,140 copies were sold over this period and the income was 16,000 AZN. I repeatedly told the court that I am ready to pay the tax of this income” noted Jafari.
Lawyer Elchin Sadigov also added that it is not in accordance with law that the investigation is conducted by the Prosecutor General’s Office (located in Baku), while the case is considered by Kapaz District Court (located in Ganja City).
“None of the petitions filed by the defense has been granted by the court. It proves that the case itself and the decision that the judge will pass is politically motivated” added the lawyer.
Mehman Aliyev, head of Turan Information Agency, said it is important to strengthen Gundam Khabar’s defense in the next stages of the trial. “More public attention should be drawn to this issue” said Aliyev.