AZERBAIJANI GOVERNMENT DOES NOT PLAN ON RELEASING EYNULLA FATULLAYEV

July 20th, 2010

Azerbaijani government’s appeal to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is related to the ECHR's decision to immediately release Eynulla Fatullayev. According to Turan Information Agency, Azerbaijani Representative in the European Court of Human Rights, Chingiz Asgerov, told this to BBC. Asgerov claimed that the ECHR's decision breaches the framework of international law. 

In response to the question “If the Grand Chamber upholds its decision will Fatullayev be released?” Asgerov said that there’s a new sentence issued against Eynulla Fatullayev, and the journalist cannot be released without the decision of either the Appellate Court or the Supreme Court.  

 

In response to the question “If the government does not agree with the decision to release Fatullayev immediately only, what would you say regarding the decision to pay 25 000 EUR in compensation to him?” Asgerov stated that this is related to the appeal. “If Azerbaijan’s appeal is fulfilled and the decision of the European Court of Human Rights is reconsidered, the request for a payment of compensation will lose its force,” he said.

 

BACKGROUND

 

On 22 April 2010, the European Court of Human Rights issued a decision regarding Fatullayev's case. The decision states that the journalist should be released immediately, and the Azerbaijani government should pay 27,822 EUR to Fatullayev in compensation. The Azerbaijani government stated that they did not agree with the decision and filed an appeal with the Grand Chamber of the ECHR.

 

On 20 April 2007, Fatullayev was arrested in the court hall under the decision adopted by the Yasamal District Court on the lawsuit of Refugee/IDP Rights Defense Committee Chairperson Tatyana Chaladze. After his arrest, a criminal case was opened against Fatullayev in the National Security Ministry Chief Investigative Office regarding an article published in Realniy Azerbaijan newspaper, which according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs caused foreign citizens and representatives of international organizations safety concerns. He was convicted under articles 214.1 (threatening terror), 283.2.2 (incitement of ethnic/national, social or religious hatred abusing authority) of the Criminal Code and was sentenced to a pre-trial detention.  Fatullayev was then convicted under 213.2.2 (tax evasion).

 

Fatullayev was sentenced to 8.5 years of imprisonment on 30 October 2007 under the decision of the Grave Crimes Court and was fined 242 thousand 522 AZN.  

 

On 29 December 2009, 0.223 grams of heroin was found on Fatullayev in Prison #12. A criminal case was opened against Fatullayev in the Garadag District Investigative Department. On 6 July 2010, Fatullayev was found guilty under article 234.1 (Illegal purchase or storage without a purpose of selling of narcotics or psychotropic substances in an amount exceeding the necessary limit for personal consumption) of the Criminal Code and was sentenced to two years and six months in prison, and the execution of the verdict began on this date. Fatullayev and his lawyer believe that this incident was a set-up in order for the court to not comply with the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the journalist's release.

 

Fatullayev was the editor-and-chief of both Realniy Azerbaijan and Gundelik Azerbaijan newspapers. Beginning their publications in 2005, Realniy Azerbaijan ran as a weekly newspaper, whereas Gundelik Azerbaijan was published as a daily newspaper. Fatullayev established both newspapers and served as the editor-in-chief of both publications. The newspapers ceased their activity after the arrest of Fatullayev in 2007.