An Azerbaijani appeals court has begun hearing libel charges involving Interior Minister Ramil Usubov and an independent newspaper, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.
A local court ruled on February 3 that Ayyub Karimov, editor in chief of the investigative newspaper "Femida 007," insulted the dignity of the police in his newspaper articles.
The court fined him some 15 percent of his monthly salary and sentenced him to 18 months of community service.
Karimov has appealed his sentence and demanded that it be annulled. Usubov is appealing the sentence because he considers it too lenient.
The March 29 court session heard appeals by both sides. The next hearing is scheduled for April 8.