Yesterday, 22 April, Human Rights Watch issued a statement
regarding the decision on the case of imprisoned Editor-in-chief of Gundelik Azerbaijan and Realniy Azerbaijan Newspapers Eynulla Fatullayev.
“The European Court of Human Rights unanimously found Azerbaijan in violation of a journalist's right to freedom of expression,” said Giorgi Gogia, South Caucasus researcher at Human Rights Watch. "This ruling should end the terrible miscarriage of justice against Fatullayev. Now Azerbaijani authorities need to set him free."
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, called upon Azerbaijani authorities to comply with a European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruling and immediately release journalist Eynulla Fatullayev.
"My Office has always demanded that Fatullayev's case be handled with two dimensions in mind – freedom of the media and due legal process,” Mijatovic said Now that the European Court of Human Rights has ruled in favour of the jailed journalist, there can be only one outcome – his immediate release."
Reporters Without Borders welcomed the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg calling on Azerbaijan to release opposition newspaper editor Eynulla Fatullayev.
“Reporters Without Borders urges the Azerbaijani government to comply with this ruling at once,” read the statement.
“Fatullayev must be released without delay and all the other charges pending against him must be dropped.”
Amnesty International urged
the Azerbaijani authorities to free Eynulla Fatullayev after the European Court of Human Rights ruled he had been wrongfully imprisoned.
“Azerbaijan should take this opportunity to show it is willing to bring to an end its reputation for silencing dissenting voices and imprisoning those that speak out against the government,” said Natalia Nozadze, Amnesty International’s researcher on Azerbaijan.
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, which was issued yesterday, states that the journalist should be released immediately and the Azerbaijani government should pay 27,822 EUR to Fatullayev in compensation.
Eynulla Fatullayev was arrested in the court hall on 20 April 2007 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 Eynulla 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 organs 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 pre-trial detention. Eynulla 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 adopted by the Grave Crimes Court and was fined in the amount of 242 thousand 522 AZN.
On 29 December, 0.223 grams heroin was found on Fatullayev. Eynulla Fatullayev and his lawyer assess this incident as an operation set-up to prevent the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the journalist in the near future. A criminal case was opened against Fatullayev in the Garadag District Investigative Department under article 234.1 of the Criminal Code (Illegal purchase or storage without a purpose of selling of narcotics or psychotropic substances in an amount exceeding necessary limit for personal consumption) and he was transferred to the Baku Investigative Prison #2 on 2 January. The investigation into the case was concluded and it is being considered in the Garadag District Court.
Realniy Azerbaijan has been published as weekly newspaper, and Gundelik Azerbaijan was published as a daily newspaper since 2005. Eynulla Fatullayev established the newspapers and was the editor-in-chief of both publications. The newspapers ceased their activity after the arrest of the editor-in-chief in 2007.