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 Report - Weekly Bulletin (RUH)

 Report date: 25.12.2003

Azerbaijan Committee to Protect Journalists "RUH"
WEEKLY BULLETIN OF THE AZERBAIJAN

 

NEW CLAIMS BROUGHT AGAINST AZADLIG NEWSPAPER

CONSIDERATION OF CLAIM AGAINST YENI MUSAVAT POSTPONED DUE TO

MOURNING DAYS

SENTENCE ON IMPRISONMENT OF THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF IN FORCE

DISCUSSION OF THE DRAFT ON PUBLIC TELEVISION POSTPONED

RELEASE OF RAUF ARIFOGLU ON BAIL IMPOSSIBLE, THE OFFICIAL CONSIDERS

REPRESENTATIVES OF INTERNATIONAL STRUCTURES MET THE IMPRISONED

EDITOR

HEAD OF JOURNALISTIC RESEARCH CENTER ADDRESSING EUROPEAN COURT

NEW CLAIMS BROUGHT AGAINST AZADLIG NEWSPAPER

Three legal claims were brought against the Azadlig newspaper at the Sabail district court on 16 December. Salman Khudayev, teacher of the 249 School of Sabail district filed the first, claiming that correspondent Shahla Abusattar has insulted honor of the School in the newspaper (22 November 2003), in her remarks, Signature collecting ceremony at the 249 School. The claimant demands 30 million manat from the newspaper, from the author and editor 25 million manat as compensation.

Former director of the same School Mirfaig Mirheydarli has brought a claim against the editor of Azadlig newspaper Ganimet Zahidov and the human rights defender Saide Gojamanli, who, according to the plaintiff, insulted his dignity and honor in the newspaper Azadlig in the article Azerbaijan has forgotten its EC membership duties, 21 October 2003. The petitioner demands the editor and the human rights defender to be fined 50 million manat each for moral damage.

In his another claim, the aforementioned Salman Khudayev demands from the Azadlig newspaper, the editor Ganimet Zahidov and the author 25 million manat as compensation, which totals 75 million manat.

CONSIDERATION OF CLAIM AGAINST YENI MUSAVAT POSTPONED DUE TO MOURNING DAYS

The claim filed by the ANS Broadcasting Company against Yeni Musavat newspaper had to be considered at the Sabail district court on 17 December. The claim was brought against Kamil Veli Narimanoglu for his remarks in the newspaper titled Immorality, 10 October 2003. The Vroadcasting Company insists that the author has insulted honor and business reputation of the Company and its president Vahid Nakhish. The plaintiff demands to publish a correction and as moral damage - 100 million manat from the newspaper and 50 million from the author. Both sides were present at the legal proceeding, but the judge stated on the postponement of the process due to mourning days in the country. The legal proceeding will held on 26 December.

SENTENCE ON IMPRISONMENT OF THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF IN FORCE

On 17 December, the Nesimi district court under the presidency of judge Mammadali Zulfigarov considered the petition of Mazahir Shahmarov, barrister of the editor-in-chief of Yeni Musavat newspaper Rauf Arifolgu. The lawyer demanded change of imprisonment sentence on Rauf Arifolgu. It has to be reminded that the editor-in-chief, on the Article 220.1 (participation at the mass disorders) and 315.2 (resistance to powered representative) was sentenced to imprisonment of 3 months

The process passed behind the closed doors. The lawyer explained: Today Rauf Arifolgu should better to be sentenced to under house arrest, because he is a known person and has four people in his guardian, three of which are underage. He leads a large staff of newspaper, is keen in objective investigation, never circumvented the court summons.

The judge, however, did not consider expedient to change the sentence, albeit they could not validate the claim. Unfortunately, judge also defended the investigator and prosecutor.

DISCUSSION OF THE DRAFT ON PUBLIC TELEVISION POSTPONED

Parliament of Azerbaijan had to consider the Draft On public television on 17 December. Due to officially announced mourning days in connection with the passing of President Heydar Aliyev, the discussions were again postponed, Rashid hajili, member of the discussion commission, director of the Media Rights Institute said. At his words, exact time of discussions is not known.

RELEASE OF RAUF ARIFOGLU ON BAIL IMPOSSIBLE, THE OFFICIAL CONSIDERS

As provided by the Turan News agency on 18 December, commenting the proposals, made recently by Rober Mennar, head of the Reporters Sans Frontieres Organization, the chief of Presidential Department Ali Hasanov said: We expect the Drafts On public television and On freedom of information to be adopted late this year. Likewise, creation of public television is to commence late this year, he stressed.

Head of the Presidential department said that the government has already implemented all the requirements stipulated by the freedoms of press and information. There is no any state regulation on the press. We have established free, politically pluralist principles. In the country, one can watch a tendency that the independent press comes out of the influence of the political parties. We think, this process will go faster in the coming year, Mr. Hasanov underlined.

At his words, the law enforcement bodies deem impossible to release Rauf Arifogly on bail until the court. Proofs on crimes committed by Rauf Arifoglu are to be produced shortly. Therefore, his release can have negative impact on the legal process and social atmosphere in the society. The legal bodies consider expedient to keep him in jail.

According to him, there is no any fact on physical pressure upon the media representative. As to other existing facts, the law enforcers are investigating the, and will disclose nearly.

It has to be reminded that on 1-2 December, the mission of Reporters Sans Frontieres has visited Baku and prepared a special report. The mission gave certain recommendations to the government and Azerbaijan media:

The facts of harassment on 15-16 October against the journalists should be investigated and the conclusions made public;
Representatives of law-enforcement bodies violating the rights of journalists should be brought to response;
The Press Council together with the MIA should define the regulations for journalists during mass actions;
Rauf Arifolgu should be released until the court;
The obligations before the Council of Europe to create public television should be realized;
Independence of the Council on electronic media should be provided.
To put an end to using administrative methods on restriction of press freedom; not to use from the state printing houses as a tool of pressure on the mass media;
To put an end to pressures on the advertisers;
To establish standards of assistance to mass media and provide openness in this field;
To base on the recommendations of the Reporters Sand Frontieres and OSCE in connection with the case of violation of dignity and honor. To consider the issue of decriminalization of these normative. The fines and commitments should be proportionally defined.
REPRESENTATIVES OF INTERNATIONAL STRUCTURES MET THE IMPRISONED EDITOR

On 18 December, Ruben Seward, deputy chairman of the OSCE Baku Office, Rein Burmans, adviser to the ambassador of Netherlands, Sirpa Rawtio, head of the ODIHR human rights department met Rauf Arifolgu, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Yeni Musavat, who is currently in jail. At words of Tufan Karimli, the barrister of Rauf Arifolgu, discussed was the state of the editor after hunger strike. All the claims towards me are groundless and there is no a single evidence, and the mass imprisonments were conducted on political motives, Rauf Arifolgy stressed.

HEAD OF JOURNALISM RESEARCH CENTER ADDRESSING THE EUROPEAN COURT

Sheyda Nesibli, director of the journalism research Center has addressed the European Court. She claims that the ministry of justice does not register the Center that has been founded three years ago. Though she has submitted appropriate documents to the Ministry in September 2002, there no an answer to date. Therefore, she had to file a statement at the Yasamal district court against the Ministry. The district court, as well as the Appeal Court and Supreme Court rejected her petition. Thus, she addressed the European Court. Sheyda Nesibli demands her Organization to be registered and be paid 100 million manat as compensation for moral damage.

Reference to the Bulletin of RUH is necessary.
Azerbaijan Committee to Protect Journalists RUH

_______________________________________________________________________

Azerbaijan Committee to Protect Journalists RUH
Azerbaijan Republic,

Baku, Nizami str., 121/11

Tel/fax: (99412) 982748

E-mail: ruh@internews.az



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