IMPRISONED JOURNALIST’S APPEAL DISMISSED

January 21st, 2011
Imprisoned journalist Eynulla Fatullayev returned to the Baku Appeals Court today, to appeal against the July 6th ruling by the Garadagh Regional Court. Judge Mirpasha Huseynov led the hearing

Fatullayev’s first objection was to the presiding judge staff. “The present judge illegally sentenced me to pre-trial detention on November 5th of last year, and violated my right to being ‘innocent till proven guilty’. In addition, Judge Huseynov behaved aggressively towards me and towards other journalists. He would not release me on a 101 thousand AZN bail, nor on a conditional release,” Fatullayev said.
After deliberation, the Judge dismissed the objection.
Eynulla Fatullayev’s new lawyer Anar Gasimov filed a motion requesting time to familiarize himself with case materials.
The Judge fulfilled this motion and rescheduled the hearing for the afternoon of January 25.
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.