2 June 2004


Newspaper editor fined in defamation case

Incident details

Nikolle Lesi

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - The following is a 1 June 2004 ARTICLE 19 statement:

On 27th May 2004, ARTICLE 19 sent an Open Letter to the Albanian Prime Minister, Mr Fatos Nano, expressing concern at the excessively high fine of 2 million LEK (approx. 20,000 USD) imposed on Nikolle Lesi, Editor of the newspaper Koha Jone, in a defamation case initiated by the Prime Minister. The defamation charges relate to an opinion piece which appeared in Koha Jone alleging that the award of 6 months? salary to the Prime Minister, the Chief of Cabinet and General Secretary of the Government for work on the privatisation of Albania?s National Savings Bank amounted to corruption.

In addition to the disproportionate nature of the fine imposed, ARTICLE 19 is concerned at alleged irregularities in the court procedure, which denied the journalist the opportunity to mount a defence against the charges. The case was rushed through the Tirana District Court in an unprecedented timeframe of 15 days and neither the journalist, nor his legal counsel, was informed when the case would be heard.

The full text of the letter can be found at http://www.article19.org/docimages/1775.doc


ARTICLE 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression
6-8 Amwell Street
United Kingdom
info (@) article19.org
Phone: +44 20 7278 9292
Fax: +44 20 7278 7660

IFEX members working in this country 1

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