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Newspaper founder sentenced to pre-trial detention

(IRFS/IFEX) - On 30 October 2008, "Ideal" newspaper founder Nazim Guliyev was sentenced to pre-trial detention and an arrest warrant was issued for him during a hearing in the Nasimi District Court, under the chairmanship of Judge Emin Mehdiyev.

The Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS) was told this by a source in the Nasimi District Court. According to the source, at present there are seven cases in connection with "Ideal" newspaper under consideration by the court. However, Guliyev does not want to participate in any of the hearings. The decision against Guliyev was issued on the basis of a presentation by the Chief Prosecutor's Office.

On 29 October, the Press Council appealed to the Chief Prosecutor's Office regarding "Ideal" Newspaper. According to the chairperson of the Press Council's Commission on Complaints, Umid Rahimoglu, the action against Guliyev was taken after "Ideal" newspaper published articles considered to be degrading to the honour and dignity of Sabira Mahmudova, a Garabagh war veteran, and Tanzila Rustamkhanli, who is the assistant chairperson of "Azerittifag" and also chairs the Azeri-Turk Women's Union. "After the Press Council investigated the complaints against the newspaper, it found out that the articles contained insults and were libellous. The Press Council's decisions and opinions about the articles were ignored by the newspaper's leadership and therefore the council decided to appeal to the Chief Prosecutor's Office to obtain a solution through legal investigation."

However, "Ideal" newspaper's editor-in-chief, Ali Hasanov, said that he did not have any information about a decision on an order of pre-trial detention being issued against Guliyev. He stated that some people, whose names he did not want to reveal, want to imprison Guliyev. "Nazim Guliyev is the founder of 'Ideal' newspaper and he was not aware of the article about 'Azerittifag'," said Hasanov. "The former editor-in-chief of the newspaper, Shakir Agayev, wrote this article under the penname Ismayil Telmanoglu. After Guliyev found out about it, he dismissed Agayev from his job. He has also published the 'Azerittifag' complaint letter in lieu of a refutation. Despite this, some people simply do not want him to be free."

Guliyev's defense lawyer, Javad Javadov, said he participated in the hearing, but no such decision against the newspaper's founder was adopted during the hearing. "Nazim is free at present and is not hiding anywhere. If any decision was issued against him, a copy of it should have been presented to us," he added.

IRFS was unable to contact Guliyev during the day as calls did not reach his cell phone.

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