MINISTER WITHDRAWS LAWSUIT AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER

March 2nd, 2009
Today, 2 March, in the Yasamal District Court, under the chairmanship of Ragib Gurbanov, a hearing was held on the lawsuit of Minister of Interior Ramil Usubov against Chairperson of the Institute for Peace and Democracy Leyla Yunus.

The Plaintiff’s lawyer Alirza Habilov and defense lawyer Isakhan Ashrov participated in the hearing.
Ministry of Interior Press service Head Sadig Gozelov told the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety that the lawsuit has been withdrawn.
“The lawsuit was taken back because Leyla Yunus refuted through mass media,” said Gozelov. “We accept the expression ‘I did not want to damage business image of Azerbaijan’s Police,’ which Yunus used in interviews to ‘Turan’ News Agency and “Novoye Vremya’ Newspaper as a refutation and have therefore withdrawn the lawsuit.”
Defense Lawyer Isakhan Ashurov confirmed that the lawsuit was rescinded and Judge R. Guibanov ended the trial.
Although the hearing was held open, IRFS employees were not let in the hearing. IRFS employees were told by the judge’s secretariat, “the hearing was postponed (until 3 March), but we don’t know what hour will take place and according to whose demand it was postponed.”
Ramil Usubov filed a lawsuit in the Nasimi District Court against human rights defender Leyla Yunus over libel allegedly committed against the Ministry of Interior during her interview to day.az site on 3 December. The Minister demanded that Yunus refute regarding her interview, apologize to the ministry and pay 100,000 AZN in compensation for moral damages.