GOVERNMENT REACTS TO EUROPEAN COURT DECISION ON EYNULLA FATULLAYEV

October 20th, 2010
The Azerbaijani government reacted to the decision issued by European Court of Human Rights on Eynulla Fatullayev. Answering the question on  imprisoned Eynulla Fatullayev, Azerbaijan’s Representative to European Court of Human Rights  Khanlar  Hajiyev told Radio Liberty that “there is no doubt for anybody and the Azerbaijani government that  the decision of European Court of Human Rights should be implemented. “


Several days ago, Grand Chamber of European Court of Human Rights rejected the lawsuit of the Azerbaijani government’s lawsuit against the decision on immediate release of the journalist and payment of 28,000 EUR in compensation. So the European Court of Human Rights upheld its first decision. Khanlar Hajiyev noted that the court decision can not be argued.
Supreme Court Press Secretary Allahverdi Mammadli said that the assembly is called once in a quarter.  An appeal on Eynulla Fatullayev's case can be considered in the next assembly as well. Mammadli added that the assembly can be called early in case of important issues. However, it is generally called once in every two or three months.
European Court of Human Rights issued the decision on Fatullayev's case on 22 April, 2010. The decision says that that the journalist should be immediately released and Azerbaijani government should pay 27,822 EUR to Eynulla Fatullayev in compensation.
BACKGROUND

On the 20th of April, 2007, Fatullayev was arrested in the court hall after a ruling 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. 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 (threatening terror), 283.2.2 (incitement of ethnic/national, social or religious hatred abusing authority) of the Criminal Code and was sentenced to pre-trial detention. Fatullayev was then convicted under 213.2.2 (tax evasion). Fatullayev was sentenced to 8.5 years in prison on the 30th of October, 2007 and was fined 242,522 AZN under the decision of 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.