Yesterday, 6 January, lawyer Isakhan Ashurov visited Gundelik Azerbaijan and Realniy Azerbaijan Newspapers’ Editor-in-chief Eynulla Fatullayev who is being held in the Baku Investigative Prison. The Institute for Reporters` Freedom and Safety was told this by Fatullayev’s father Emin Fatullayev.

According to Emin Fatullayev, lawyer Isakhan Ashurov said that Eynulla Fatullayev did not complain about prison conditions. Father Fatullayev said that Eynulla called on Ombudsman Elmira Suleymanova and several international organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch via his lawyer and stated that the accusation of possession of drugs against him is aimed to hinder his release.

Then Eynulla added that the employees of the Operation Department used psychical pressure against him when they took him to the solitary confinement cell. The torture ended after his lawyer came to prison on 30 December.  

Parliament Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Monitoring Committee Co-rapporteur on Azerbaijan Andreas Herkel expressed his opinion regarding the new charges put forth against Eynulla Fatullayev. Herkel said that this incident looks suspicious and that he will unveil his real opinion during his visit to Azerbaijan.

Press Council Chairman Aflatun Amashov addressed an appeal to Internal Affairs Minister Ramil Usubov to conduct fair investigation into the criminal case against Eynulla Fatullayev.

On 29 December, 0.22 grams heroin was found on Fatullayev. Eynulla Fatullayev and his lawyer assess this incident as an operation set-up to prevent the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the journalist in the near future. Fatullayev was transferred to the Baku Investigative Prison #2 on 2 January.

Eynulla Fatullayev was sentenced to 2.5 years of imprisonment on 21 April 2007 for insulting honor and dignity.  Later he was convicted under articles 214.1 (threatening terror), 283.2.2 (incitement of ethnic/national, social or religious hatred abusing authority), and 213.2.2 (tax evasion) of the Criminal Code and was sentenced to 8.5 years of imprisonment on 30 October 2007.     
Realniy Azerbaijan has been published as weekly newspaper, and Gundelik Azerbaijan was published as a daily newspaper since 2005. Eynulla Fatullayev established the newspapers and was the editor-in-chief of both publications. The newspapers ceased their activity after the arrest of the editor-in-chief in 2007.

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