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Journalists face criminal lawsuit brought against them by politician

(IRFS/IFEX) - On 30 December 2008, in the Binagadi District Court chaired by Judge M. Kazimov, a hearing was conducted into a lawsuit brought by the chairman of the Adalat Party, parliamentarian Ilyas Ismayilov, against journalist Faramaz Novruzoglu (Allahverdiyev), an advisor for "Nota" newspaper, and Ilham Tumas (Agayev), the editor-in-chief of "24 Saat" newspaper. The lawsuit is based on articles 147 and 148 of the Criminal Code, referring to insult and libel.

Allahverdiyev believes that the lawsuit was brought against him for political reasons and that the consideration of the suit by the courts is illegal. "First of all there's no evidence to prove that I wrote the article (for which the lawsuit is being brought)," he said. "Also, according to article 44 of the mass media law, all individuals have the right to respond to articles that they feel damage their honour or dignity within a month, they can demand that a correction be published or they can appeal directly to the courts. However, Ismayilov appealed to the courts on 16 October 2008 regarding an article that was published on 28 May 2008. The consideration of this case is unacceptable."

Judge Kazimov postponed the next hearing for an indefinite period of time after sending the article in question for an expert opinion to determine whether it was written by Allahverdiyev.

The lawsuit stems from an article entitled, "Russia rejects Ilyas Ismayilov", published in "24 Saat" on 28 May. In the article, Ismayilov is accused of having ties to separatists and working for Russia. Ismayilov has called for Allahverdiyev to be arrested.

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