New York, April 13, 2007
—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a Baku Appeals Court decision today to uphold the convictions of two journalists with the independent weekly Nota Bene
on charges of defaming Interior Minister Ramil Usubov in a series of articles that described corruption and infighting in the agency.
The court let stand a January trial court ruling that sentenced reporter Faramaz Novruzoglu to two years in prison and Editor-in-Chief Sardar Alibeili to 18 months of “corrective labor.” Their legal representatives were not present in court today because the hearing took place earlier than announced, Ilham Tumas, founder of Nota Bene,
told the Azeri news Web site Mediaforum
. He said Novruzoglu and Alibeili don’t know yet whether they will appeal to the Supreme Court.