On April 18 Kapaz District Court of Ganja City held a hearing on the case of Gundam Khabar newspaper editor Shirin Jafari, charged with tax evasion by Anti-Corruption Office, the editor himself reported to the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) on April 18.
Two of the nine witnesses testified at the hearing.
First witness Imran Nurmammadov, representative of the Tax Ministry’s Audit Department, did not change his stance and backed his own decision on the audit of the newspaper.
The other witness Aslan Mammadov, employee of Futbol+Servis publishing company, informed the court about the circulation of the newspaper, saying that its real circulation reaches 2,000.
Judge Hashimov postponed the trial until April 29, 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.
Gundam Khabar newspaper is published since June, 2009.