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Writer Rustam Ibrahimbayov sent an appeal to Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev on behalf of several intellectuals of the country. In the appeal they asked for the release of imprisoned Editor-in-Chief of Gundelik Azerbaijan and Realniy Azerbaijan newspapers, Eynulla Fatullayev, and youth bloggers Emin Milli (Abdullayev) and Adnan Hajizade. This was reported by Radio Liberty citing political scientist Eldar Namazov.
According to Namazov, the agreement to submit the appeal was reached during public hearings called “Azerbaijani intellectuals and the foundation of independent democratic statehood,” which was held last week. The intellectuals prepared a thorough memorandum document.
On 29 December, 0.223 grams of heroin was found on Fatullayev in Prison #12. A criminal case was opened against Fatullayev in the Garadag District Investigative Department. On 6 July 2010, Fatullayev was found guilty under article 234.1 (Illegal purchase or storage without a purpose of selling of narcotics or psychotropic substances in an amount exceeding the necessary limit for personal consumption) of the Criminal Code and was sentenced to two years and six months in prison, and the execution of the verdict began on this date. Fatullayev and his lawyer believe that this incident was a set-up in order for the court to not comply with the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the journalist.
On 22 April, the European Court of Human Rights issued a decision regarding the case of imprisoned Editor-in-Chief of Gundelik Azerbaijan and Realniy Azerbaijan newspapers Eynulla Fatullayev. The decision states that the journalist should be released immediately, and the Azerbaijani government should pay 27,822 EUR to Fatullayev in compensation. The Azerbaijani government stated that they did not agree with the decision and filed an appeal at the Grand Chamber of the ECHR.
On 20 April 2007, Eynulla Fatullayev was arrested in the court hall under the decision adopted 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, which according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs caused foreign citizens and representatives of international organizations safety concerns. 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 a pre-trial detention. Fatullayev was then convicted under 213.2.2 (tax evasion).
Eynulla Fatullayev was sentenced to 8.5 years of imprisonment on 30 October 2007 under the decision of the Grave Crimes Court and was fined 242 thousand 522 AZN.
Beginning their publications in 2005, Realniy Azerbaijan ran as a weekly newspaper, whereas Gundelik Azerbaijan was published as a daily newspaper. Eynulla Fatullayev established both newspapers and served as the editor-in-chief of both publications. The newspapers ceased their activity after the arrest ofFatullayev in 2007.