The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Plenum of the Supreme Court of Azerbaijani Republic has committed serious legal violations in its implementation of the European Court of Human Right decision on the case of Eynulla Fatullayev. The Plenum is not justified in prolonging the imprisonment of Fatullayev under the 2007 tax evasion charge. (In 2007, the Court of Grave Crimes sentenced the journalist to two months in prison under charges of tax evasion.)
The Supreme Court Plenum has therefore failed to execute the ECHR ruling for immediate release of the journalist. In contradiction with general legal principles, the Plenum heard the prosecutor’s motion and issued an illegal decision, instead of fulfilling the requirements of the ECHR ruling. As a result, the Plenum has also violated Articles 6 and 7 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms: the right to a fair trial, and no punishment without a previous penal law.
This proves that the ruling establishment does not intend to release Fatullayev. It is possible that the journalist will face some other set-ups, similar to the drug possession charges of December 2009, made with the sole aim of prolonging his detention. The illegal action of the Supreme Court is evidence of the government’s intention.
IRFS believes that if this problem does not receive the attention it demands, and if Fatullayev remains in prison, this will constitute an act of aggression towards the European judicial system and the European Convention of Human Rights. Furthermore, this process may damage the reputation of the ECHR.
IRFS is concerned that this case will inspire a dangerous trend in authoritarian states, enabling governments to silence dissidents.
IRFS is calling on the Committee of Ministers to take the aforementioned points into consideration and to urge the Azerbaijani government to fully implement the ECHR ruling.