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Deputy defence minister sues newspaper over criticism of army

(CJES/IFEX) - The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry has filed a lawsuit against the "Yeni Musavat" newspaper over publications that criticised the army. According to the paper's lawyer, Vagif Gusein, "Yeni Musavat" has received a copy of the lawsuit signed by Deputy Defence Minister Chingiz Mamedov, who alleges that stories ran by the paper defamed him. He is seeking 100,000 manats (approx. US$127,000) in "moral damages". Mamedov also wants the authors of the stories to be prosecuted.

The newspaper regards the lawsuit as an attempt by the Defence Ministry to prevent criticism and smother the free press.

Jasur Mamedov, the chairman of the Center for Military Journalistic Investigations Doktrina JHAM, said the Defence Ministry is filing lawsuits against mass media outlets instead of strengthening relations with them. He said a separate lawsuit was recently filed against "Yeni Musavat" and the http://www.milaz.info , http://www.musavat.com and http://www.azadliq.info websites. The media believe the Defence Ministry may also be behind that lawsuit.

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