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Newspaper staff launches hunger strike to protest fine

(IRFS/IFEX) – 21 December 2010 – The Justice Ministry Court Executors' Department for the Narimanov District has sent a notification letter to the editorial offices of "Khural" newspaper, informing the newspaper that it has 10 days to pay 10,000 AZN (approx. US$12,500) compensation as the result of a lawsuit launched against the newspaper by Presidential Administration Head Ramiz Mehdiyev, editor-in-chief Avaz Zeynalli told IRFS.

"The newspaper is not able to pay this fine. Having no other way, the newspaper staff has decided to launch a hunger strike," said Zeynalli.

Mehdiyev's lawsuit stemmed from an article titled "Ramiz Mehdiyev's plan against Bakhtiyar Vahabzade!!! Why did the head of the Presidential Administration punish people and the director of the Executive Administration of Shaki?" The article was published in "Khural" on 23 May 2010. The plaintiff demanded that a correction be published and 10,000 AZN in fines be paid to "Umid yeri" Children's house in the Bina settlement. On 2 July, a local court ruled that the newspaper had to pay the fine. On 1 September, the Appeals Court upheld the lower court's decision, as did the Supreme Court on 17 November.

"Khural" newspaper was established in October 2002 and publishes once a week.

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