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Azerbaijani President's Uncle Sues Journalists

Jalal Aliyev

Jalal Aliyev

BAKU -- The uncle of President Ilham Aliyev has filed a lawsuit against two journalists at the opposition newspaper "Yeni Musavat," RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Academic Jalal Aliyev has accused "Yeni Musavat" first deputy editor in chief Azer Aykhan and correspondent Qoshqar Aliyev (no relation) of libel for publishing an article claiming that some unfinished buildings in the capital belong to Jalal Aliyev and no one is complaining about them because they are owned by the president's uncle.

Jalal Aliyev said that information is false and he was offended by the article.

Vaqif Huseynli, a lawyer for "Yeni Musavat," told RFE/RL that the article is neither libelous nor offensive.

At the opening session of parliament today, some deputies demanded that a defamation bill be adopted soon in order to prevent more journalists from facing jail terms. There are currently two newspaper editors in jail for writing articles criticizing officials.

Parliament members from the ruling Yeni Azerbaycan Party said the country cannot simply accept laws that come from Western Europe.