The hearing for journalist Eynulla Fatullayev’s case, originally scheduled for today (October 14th) has been postponed to the October 22nd, due to the absence of his lawyers.
Eynulla Fatullayev was the founder and Editor-in-chief of two newspapers: Realniy Azerbaijan and Gundelik Azerbaijan. First published in 2005, Realniy Azerbaijan ran as a weekly newspaper, while Gundelik Azerbaijan was published daily. Both papers stopped printing after Fatullayev's arrest in 2007.
April 20th, 2007: Fatullayev was arrested in court after a ruling by the Yasamal District Court regarding the lawsuit of Refugee/IDP Rights Defense Committee chairperson Tatyana Chaladze.
After Fatullayev’s arrest, a criminal case was opened against him by the Chief Investigative Office of the National Security Ministry. An article he had published in the Realniy Azerbaijan newspaper was deemed criminal. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the article caused foreign citizens and representatives of international organizations to be concerned for their safety.
October 30th, 2007: Fatullayev was convicted under Articles 214.1 (threatening terror) and 283.2.2 (incitement of ethnic/national, social, or religious hatred abusing authority) of the Criminal Code. He was sentenced to pre-trial detention. Fatullayev was then convicted under 213.2.2 (tax evasion), before he was finally sentenced by the Grave Crimes Court. He received 8.5 years in prison and a fine of 242,522 AZN .
December 29th, 2009: 0.223g of heroin was found in Fatullayev’s possession in Prison #12.
A criminal case was opened against Fatullayev in the Garadag District Investigative Department.
July 6th, 2010: Fatullayev was found guilty under Article 234.1 of the Criminal Code (the illegal purchase or possession of narcotics or psychotropic substances in an amount exceeding the limit for personal consumption, without intent to sell). His sentence of 2.5 years in prison began the very same day.
Fatullayev and his lawyer believe that this incident was a set-up, engineered by the court so that they could disregard the April 22nd, 2010 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR): that the journalist should be released at once.
More than two months earlier, the ECHR had decreed that Fatullayev should be released immediately, and that he should be paid 27,822 EUR in government compensation. The Azerbaijani government filed an appeal with the Grand Chamber of the ECHR.
Fatullayev is recognized as a prisoner of conscience by local and international organizations.