EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS DECISION TO BE CONSIDERED IN SUPREME COURT

October 21st, 2010
The Azerbaijani Supreme Court will consider the case of Eynulla Fatullayev, the imprisoned editor-in-chief of Gundelik Azerbaijan and Realniy Azerbaijan newspapers.

According to Allhaverdi Mammadli of the Supreme Court, Fatullayev`s case is currently in the Supreme Court’s charge, and will be considered under procedural regulations.
He also said that Eynulla Fatullayev`s case may be considered in an extraordinary plenary session.
Efforts by the Institute for Reporters` Freedom and Safety to contact the Supreme Court yielded no result.
BACKGROUND

On April 20th, 2007, Fatullayev was arrested in court after a ruling by the Yasamal District Court on the lawsuit brought by Refugee/IDP Rights Defense Committee chairperson Tatyana Chaladze. After Fatullayev’s arrest, a criminal case was opened against him by the National Security Ministry Investigative Office, regarding an article published in Realniy Azerbaijan newspaper. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the article caused foreign citizens and representatives of international organizations to be concerned for their safety. Fatullayev was convicted under articles 214.1 and 283.2.2 of the Criminal Code: threatening terror and the incitement of ethnic/national, social or religious hatred against the government. He was sentenced to pre-trial detention. Fatullayev was then convicted under article 213.2.2 (tax evasion). He was sentenced to 8.5 years in prison in October of 2007, and fined 242,522 AZN by the Grave Crimes Court.
On the 29th of December, 2009, 0.223 grams of heroin was reportedly found on Fatullayev in Prison #12.
A criminal case was opened against Fatullayev in the Garadag District Investigative Department. On the 6th of July, 2010, Fatullayev was found guilty under article 234.1 (Illegal possession of narcotics in an amount exceeding the limit for personal consumption) of the Criminal Code. His sentence of two years and six months in prison began on the same date. Fatullayev and his lawyer believe that this incident was a set-up, organized so that the court could avoid complying with the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the journalist's release.   
On the 22nd of April, 2010, the ECHR issued a decision that Fatullayev should be released immediately, and that the Azerbaijani government should pay 27,822 EUR to Fatullayev in compensation. The Azerbaijani government filed an appeal with the Grand Chamber of the ECHR regarding this decision. Fatullayev is recognized as a prisoner of conscience by local and international organizations.   
Fatullayev established and was the Editor-in-chief of both Realniy Azerbaijan and Gundelik Azerbaijan newspapers. First published in 2005, Realniy Azerbaijan ran as a weekly newspaper, while Gundelik Azerbaijan was published daily. The newspapers stopped running after Fatullayev's arrest in 2007.