The court rejected the complaint of journalist Hafiz Babaly

On May 13, the Khatai District Court of Baku, chaired by Sahiba Hajiyeva, completed the trial on the claim of the editor of the economic news department of the Turan agency Hafiz Babaly against the “Iki Sahil” newspaper. Unlike the proceedings in a similar lawsuit by Babaly against the site Qafqazinfo.az. The journalist himself was not present at the trial and he was connected via video link from the pre-trial detention center.

The lawsuit was filed in connection with the publication of the article on December 28, 2023: “New details on the case of Hafiz Babaly.” The article contained defamatory and insulting information discrediting the honor, dignity and business reputation of Babaly as an investigative journalist,  a lawyer Rasul Jafarov said.

In particular, the article stated that “Babaly, having established contacts with foreign organizations and foundations in connection with grant projects, conducted investigations and prepared articles on their behalf.”

The statement that “Azerbaijani political emigrants in Europe were also involved in projects with the participation of Hafiz Babaly is also considered slander.”

The lawyer pointed out the unsubstantiated accusations against the journalist, which entails the responsibility of the media body. At the same time, Jafarov pointed out that “Iki Sahil” cannot be exonerated from responsibility, since the charges against Babaly were not taken from reports from government agencies and other official sources, as well as from news agencies

Babaly himself said that the newspaper’s editorial office did not ask for his opinion, which is required by the law on mass media. He also noted that the objects of his anti-corruption investigations were high-ranking officials, deputies, officials and no one had ever made claims, demanded a refutation, or sued him.

He also pointed out that the editorial board violated the presumption of his innocence. Babaly asked the court to oblige the publication to refute the defamatory allegations, apologize to him and pay compensation in the amount of 9900 manats, and oblige the editorial office to pay court costs.

The representative of “Iki Sahil” did not appear in court at all. Judge Hajiyeva did not satisfy the claim. Announcing the verdict, she did not motivate her decision in any way.

It should be noted that Babaly filed similar lawsuits against the site as well Qafqazinfo.az and the ATV TV channel. The lawsuit against ATV was also not satisfied. Proceedings against Qafqazinfo.az continues.

* Hafiz Babaly was detained on December 13.  He was charged with “smuggling foreign currency.” By a court decision, he was subjected to pre-trial detention for a period of three months. Babaly was involved in the “Abzas Media case”. Human rights activists recognized Babaly as a political prisoner.

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