(IRFS/IFEX) - 12 May 2011 - "Khural" newspaper editor-in-chief Avaz Zeynalli has received a warning from the Narimanov District Court Executors Department. Zeynalli told IRFS on 12 May 2011 that he was asked to pay 10,000 AZN (approx. US$12,660), pursuant to the ruling on a lawsuit filed by Presidential Administration Head Ramiz Mehdiyev. However, Zeynalli is unable to pay the amount at the current time.
"At present, my home is being investigated. They want to confiscate all of my possessions. Yesterday, court executors from Narimanov District Court visited the apartment where I am living, which is actually under the name of my father-in-law.
"'Khural' is not refusing to pay, we are just asking to pay in instalments. As you know, in the first week of February, we started our '500 good readers' campaign, which raised 600 AZN. We paid our debt to Nushabe Alasgarli with these funds.
"We can pay part of our 660 AZN debt to Agabey Asgarov, director of Azerbaijan Publishing House, of the Affairs Office of the President of Azerbaijan Republic, but not the whole amount," the editor-in-chief explained.
Mehdiyev sued "Khural" over an article entitled "Ramiz Mehdiyev's Plan Against Bakhtiyar Vahabzade: Why did the Presidential Administration head punish people and the Executive Administration head of Sheki?", which was published in the newspaper on 23 May 2010.
Mehdiyev demanded that a refutation be published and 10,000 AZN in fines be paid by transfer to the account of the Umid Yeri Children's House, in the Bina settlement. The lawsuit was admitted on 2 July 2010. On 1 September, the Appeals Court upheld the lower court's decision.
Azerbaijani singer Nushabe Alasgarli also filed a lawsuit against "Khural" citing "humiliation of her personal dignity" in connection with an article published in the paper on 4 March 2007. The newspaper was fined 100 AZN. "Khural" failed to pay the fine, however, because of financial problems. Later on, the Narimanov District Court fined the newspaper 3,000 AZN for not paying the fine in time.
The Executive Director of the Presidential Works Department, Agabey Asgerov, filed a libel lawsuit against the "Khural" editor-in-chief and correspondent Kamal Huseyn in August 2007, for "insult to his personal honor and dignity". The case was based on three articles printed in July and August of 2007: "Publishing House Rakes It In", "Azerbaijan's Publishing House: Where the Press Goes to Die", and "Not 'Azerbaijan Publishing House' but 'Azerbaijan Factory'. The articles documented legal violations committed by the director of the Azerbaijan Publishing House. The plaintiff demanded an apology and a retraction by the newspaper, as well as a 250,000 AZN fine for the defendants. He also demanded that Zeynalli and Huseyn be brought to justice under Articles 147 and 148 (libel and insult) of the Criminal Code.