The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) strongly condemns the narcotics provocation against editor-in-chief of Gundelik Azerbaijan and Realniy Azerbaidjan newspapers Eynulla Fatullayev committed one year ago, and detention of the journalist as a result of this provocation.
Specifically, 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.
IRFS believes that the narcotics charge is fabricated and provocative, because it surfaced on the eve of the European Court of Human Rights judgment of 33 April, 2010, which ruled for immediate release of the journalist and payment of compensation to him. Moreover, the 11 November 2010 judgment of Supreme Court which evaded from the implementation of ECHR judgment, as well as the 28 December 2010 judgment of Supreme Court, which rejected to fulfill Fatullayev’s appeal against the 5 November 2010 judgment of Appeals Court on his pre-trial detention, once again prove that the narcotics charge is a setup, the single aim of which is to hold the journalist behind bars.
IRFS also condemns the ruling establishment’s pressures on Fatullayev’s lawyer Elchin Sadigov demanding him to give up defending the journalist’s rights. IRFS asseses it as a clear interference in a person’s right for defense and calls on the government to stop these measures.
IRFS believes that such a treatment with Eynulla Fatullayev, who investigated the murder of Monitor magazine’s late editor-in-chief Elmar Huseynov killed on March 2, 2005, strengthens the presumptions about the connection of the ruling establishment to this murder.
IRFS calls on Azerbaijani authorities to put an end to the fierce war against the freedom of expression, and to immediately release imprisoned journalist Eynulla Fatullayev, who is recognized as a prisoner of conscience by local and international organizations and must be released in accordance with ECHR decision on his immediate release.