Regional official wants to imprison a journalist

A suit under the Article 147.2 .2 of the Criminal Code (defamation of a felony) was filed against  the website editor "" and an employee of the newspaper "Yeni Musavat" Zabil Mugabiloglu (Najizade.) The plaintiff is Suleyman Bashirov,  the Head of Culture and Tourism Department of  Imishli  region. The lawsuit was filed  due to a message on May 30 on the site "" entitled "Attestation bribe by William Hajiyev."

The article stated that, in the department of culture and tourism  in Imishli region  the employees are  certified, without the participation of the representatives  of the Ministry of Culture; and that  the head of department. Bashirov demands from  workers bribe for the successful certification.

The lawsuit was filed in the Narimanov  District Court, and was  accepted  by a judge  Mazahir Sadigov. The consideration  is scheduled for June 17th at 10:30.

Journalist considers illegal  the adoption of a claim,  because the name and address of the journalist were not indicated.

Secondly, the  haste accepting  the case by the judge is also  doubtful. The Nariman district court should  not consider the case because neither Mugabiloglu, nor a the edition of his site  have been registered in  the Narimanov district.

Editorial office was in Narimanov district until May 15, 2013.

Journalist told Turan, that the source of information was the workers  of the  culture and tourism department of Imishli region. It is noteworthy that in the lawsuit confirmed that the  employees of the  Ministry of Culture  were not involved in certification. Mugabiloglu’s rights  will protect the lawyer Elchin Sadigov  and  Vagif Huseyn, a lawyer of the newspaper "Yeni Musavat".

A lawyer of  Media Rights Institute (IPM) Khalid Agaliyev, commenting on the lawsuit, said that the media law allows filing defamation lawsuits against on-line media.

However, the requirement to bring the  journalists to justice for defamation is contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights, precedent decisions of the European Court of Human Rights in Azerbaijan (case Fatullayev, Yashar Aghazadeh, and Rovshan Kabirli), which indicated the need for the abolition of criminal penalties for defamation.

Saving penalties  in the Criminal Code  for libel and insult does not mean their mandatory use. In some European countries there are similar measures in the legislation, but they have not been applied for 40-50 years, since it will be challenged in the European Court of Human Rights and the Government will have to pay the penalty for it. Therefore, a moratorium on the use of these articles of the Criminal Code cannot be imposed in Azerbaijan before the adoption a law on defamation.

The Article 147.2 provides for up to three years in prison. -06B-

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