EYNULLA FATULLAYEV’S MOTION FOR RELEASE REJECTED

November 22nd, 2010
Today, the Baku Appeals Court heard Eynulla Fatullayev’s appeal against the Garadag District Court decision of July 6th. Judge Mirpasha Huseynov chaired the hearing.

Eynulla Fatullayev stated that he had temporarily discharged his lawyer Isakhan Ashurov. Eynulla Fatullayev’s lawyer Elchin Sadigov submitted a motion for Eynulla’s release on bail till the end of his Appeals Court hearing. The public prosecutor said that this motion should not be heard.

“I am only in prison only because of your decision to sentence me to pre-trial detention. I am able to put up 11,000 AZN and real estate bail. I ask you to release me on bail till the end of the Appeals Court hearing.” said Fatullayev.

After deliberation, the judge announced that the Court would reject the motion.

Fatullayev’s lawyer Elchin Sadigov submitted a new motion to replace pre-trial detention with house arrest. The Judge denied the motion.

Judge Mirpasha Huseynov has banned all filming and photography during the session, and at this time, he also told journalists that they could not take notes without his express permission.

Fatullayev has been in prison since April 2007, when he was convicted for threatening terror and inciting hatred against authority, in a newspaper article he published. He then received an additional sentence for tax evasion, giving him a total sentence of eight and a half years. In December of last year, he was found guilty of drug possession, after a quantity of heroin was reportedly found in his clothing while he was in prison. Fatullayev and his lawyer believe that this incident was a set-up, organized so that the court could avoid complying with the anticipated decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the journalist's release.
In April, the ECHR ruled that Fatullayev should be released immediately, and that the Azerbaijani government should pay 27,822 EUR to him in compensation. The Azerbaijani government ruled last week to excuse him of the original charges, but he remains in prison under the drug conviction. Fatullayev is recognized as a prisoner of conscience by local and international organizations.
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 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.