Public prosecutor requests five year jail term for newspaper editor

May 14th, 2013

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On May 13th Kapaz District Court of Ganja City, chaired by judge Yashar Hashimov, held a hearing on the case of Gundam Khabar newspaper founder and editor Shirin Jafari who is charged with tax evasion by Anti-Corruption Office, the editor himself reported to the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) on May 13th.

According to Jafari, the petition requesting a new tax audit filed by the defense in the previous hearing was discuss in this hearing.

In turn, the public prosecutor requested the court to deny the petition, uphold the Tax Ministry decision and sentence Jafari to 5 years in jail.

Jafari added that the final verdict in his case will be passed on May 20, 11:00am.

Background: Anti-Corruption Office under the General Prosecutor’s Office has filed a criminal case against the Gundam Khabar newspaper founder Shirin Jafari under articles 213.2.2 (tax evasion) and 308.1 (abuse of position) of the Criminal Code. The criminal case was opened following a request by the Press Council for the investigation of the newspaper’s activities. The Press Council accused the newspaper of ignoring citizens’ right to personal privacy, disseminating information insulting citizens’ honor and dignity, and regularly violating journalism ethics. According to the General Prosecutor’s Office, the investigation revealed that Jafari violated not only the principles of the law on mass media, but also the tax legislation; in particular, financial statements necessary for tax calculation have not been provided, accounting has not been carried out, the number of printed copies has not been provided, cash transaction reporting requirements have been violated, and 68,244 AZN in tax has been evaded. All of this taken into account, Jafari is required to pay 107,000 AZN fine. In turn, the editor appealed to the court with request to revoke this decision.

 Gundam Khabar newspaper is published since June, 2009.