INTERNATIONAL APPEAL FOR FATULLAYEV

March 1st, 2011
A group of international human rights NGOs has issued a further appeal on behalf of imprisoned Azerbaijani journalist Eynulla Fatullayev.

“We are deeply concerned that despite this decision, the Azerbaijani authorities have not taken any steps towards ending Mr Fatullayev’s detention. Indeed, nearly four years after his initial arrest, Mr Fatullayev remains wrongfully imprisoned on yet another politically motivated charge connected with exercising his right to freedom of expression.”

Addressed to the Committee of Ministers at the Council of Europe in advance of its March 8th case review meeting, the appeal sets out four specific concerns with Fatullayev’s case, primarily relating to breaches of international law by the Azeri government: Willful misinterpretation of the Court’s judgment; Failure to account for time served in prison; Failure to pay just satisfaction (relating to the European Court of Human Rights ruling for financial compensation); Fabrication of the drugs possession charge.

The following organizations signed the appeal:
1.    Agnès Callamard, Executive Director, ARTICLE 19
2.    Nina Ognianova, Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists
3.    Philip Leach, Director, European Human Rights Advocacy Centre
4.    David Kramer, Executive Director, Freedom House
5.    Ane Tusvik Bonde, Regional Manager for Eastern Europe and Caucasus, Human Rights House Foundation
6.    Natasha Schmidt, Assistant Editor, Index on Censorship
7.    Milica Pesic, Executive Director, Media Diversity Institute
8.    Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General, Norwegian Helsinki Committee
9.    Gugulethu Moyo, Executive Director, Media Legal Defence Initiative
10.    Sara Whyatt, Interim Executive Director, PEN International
11.    Jean-François Julliard, Secretary-General, Reporters Without Borders
12.    Virginie Jouan, Executive Director, Press Freedom and Media Development, World Association of
13.    Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA)

In 2007, Eynulla Fatullayev, editor-in-chief of “Realniy Azerbaydjan” and “Gundelik Azerbaycan” newspapers, was sentenced to 8.5 years in jail for threatening terrorism, along with other charges.

On April 22, 2010, the European Court of Human Rights ruled for his immediate release and financial compensation from the Azerbaijani government (27,800 EUR). The Azerbaijani Supreme Court Plenum has not fully enacted this ruling.