EYNULLA FATULLAYEV’S COMPENSATION FUNDS TRANSFERRED TO HIS SUSPENDED ACCOUNT

January 10th, 2011
The Azerbaijani government does not intend to pay 28, 000 EUR compensation to imprisoned journalist Fatullayev, as set by the European Court of Human Rights. The funds should have been paid no more than  three months after the date the judgment was issued, which was October 4th, 2010. However, compensation has not been paid so far.

"Chingiz Askerov, the Azerbaijani delegate in the European Court, informed me through my lawyer that I needed to open a bank account to receive the funds. I opened an account at the International Bank. Today is January 10th, but the funds have not yet been transferred,” the journalist's father Emin Fatullayev told Turan.

Yesterday, the Ombudsperson, Elmira Suleymanova, said that she learned from Chingiz Askarov about the funds were transferred to Fatullayev's personal account on December 22, 2010. But the issue is that the journalist's account was suspended in 2007, when he was arrested and the funds in the account were frozen. Additionally, the Azerbaijani courts accused Fatullayev of tax evasion. At that time, the National Security ministry seized the computer equipment of Fatullayev’s newspaper – Realniy Azerbaydjan and didn’t give it back.
         
The journalist’s father supposes that the government has transferred the money to the suspended account deliberately, with the intent to take it back under a court decision on confiscation of funds.
 
BACKGROUND

On the 20th of April, 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 Chief 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. He was convicted under Articles 214.1 and 283.2.2 of the Criminal Code:  threatening terror and incitement of ethnic/national, social or religious hatred abusing authority. He was sentenced to pre-trial detention. Fatullayev was then convicted under 213.2.2 (tax evasion). He was finally sentenced to 8.5 years in prison on the 30th of October, 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 and 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 Plenum of Supreme Court partially fulfilled this decision on November 11. However, the Supreme Court judgment was completely changed later.   
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.