The Justice Ministry’s Penitentiary Service has not granted permission to the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety to conduct monitoring at the Baku Investigative Prison.
IRFS appealed to monitor prison conditions of imprisoned Editor-in-chief of Gundalik Azerbaijan and Realniy Azerbaijan Newspapers Eynulla Fatullayev in the Baku Investigative Prison. This appeal was issued after IRFS sent appeals to international organizations and relevant organs regarding threat to Fatullayev’s life.
The following is written in the letter signed by the Justice Ministry’s Penitentiary Service Deputy Chief Huseyn Alikhanov that IRFS received today, 29 March:
-Your appeal received by the Penitentiary Services on 5 March 2010 was considered. As it is with other suspects in the Baku Investigative Prison, Eynulla Fatullayev’s safety is also secured. Representatives of Human Rights NGOs and international organizations also stated numerous times those detention conditions of all suspects meet high standards. In addition, a Public Committee operates under the Justice Ministry where the representatives of NGOs working in different fields (law-defense, education, healthcare, and so on) are represented. This secures public supervision over the work of prisons. The Public Committee members visit prisons regularly, monitor the situation of prisoners and give relevant advice. The results of monitoring are always published in the media. In light of this, we believe that you should appeal to the Public Committee.
Eynulla Fatullayev was sentenced to 2.5 years of imprisonment on 21 April 2007 for insulting honor and dignity. Later he was convicted under articles 214.1 (threatening terror), 283.2.2 (incitement of ethnic/national, social or religious hatred abusing authority), and 213.2.2 (tax evasion) of the Criminal Code and was sentenced to 8.5 years of imprisonment on 30 October 2007. Prior to the new charge against him, Fatullayev was serving his sentence in prison #12. 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 a quantity (amount) exceeding necessary for personal consumption) and he was transferred to the Baku Investigative Prison #2 on 2 January.
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.