To the President of the United States of America,
Mr Barack Obama
We are approaching the 3rd of May – International Press Freedom Day, and it is for this reason that we are writing to you. We are appealing on behalf of Eynulla Fatullayev, an imprisoned Azerbaijani journalist, who was an assistant to murdered icon of Azerbaijani journalism Elmar Huseynov and is an internationally recognized prisoner of conscience, who has been held in prison for over 4 years in Azerbaijan.
Fatullayev has been behind bars since April 2007. During this period, the European Court of Human Rights has recognized his innocence and called for his immediate release in April, 2010. The Council of Europe Cabinet of Ministers discussed the implementation of the European Court of Human Rights judgment and the release of Fatullayev, and adopted concrete decisions in its November 2010 and March 2011 sessions.
We regret to note that not only the journalist but also his family members have faced threats, pressures and provocation. He was moved into solitary confinement on numerous occasions, and his parents received death threats against him via telephone. Drug possession charges were weighed against Fatullayev in December, 2011, with the intent to prevent the implementation of anticipated ECHR decision, and his sentence was subsequently extended. This demonstrates that the journalist’s life is in danger.
Mr, President, by signing the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act you sent a strong message to the whole world that the United States will take measures against governments who restrict freedom of speech and are involved in acts of violence against journalists. We believe the time has come for the United States to act on its promise. We also believe that international community should call for the release of all imprisoned journalists worldwide, and for an end to pressures used against them.
Considering the above, we ask that in your May 3rd International Press Freedom Day statement, the United States calls for the immediate release of Eynulla Fatullayev.