SUPREME COURT DID NOT RELEASE EYNULLA FATULLAYEV

November 12th, 2010
Today the extraordinary plenary meeting of the Supreme Court considered the decision of European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling on imprisoned journalist Eynulla Fatullayev (4 October 2010 ). a

The plenary meeting first of all considered the charges under Article 213.2.2 (tax evasion). Public prosecutor Namig Mammadov demanded a sentence of 2 years 3 months and 15 days. The public prosecutor wanted the court to release the defendant, taking into account the time already served.
Fatullayev’s lawyer Elchin Sadgiov filed a motion requesting the annulment of the Appeals Court's November 5th decision to sentence Fatullayev to  pre-trial detention.
After deliberation, Judge Ramiz Rzayev announced that the Supreme Court  would reject the motion. He sentenced Fatullayev to 2 years and 2 months in prison. Rzayev did uphold the ECHR decision on the other charges against Fatullayev.  The Judge did not discuss Fatullayev's compensation, which was a component  of the ECHR decision.
BACKGROUND

On the 20th of April, 2007, Fatullayev was arrested in court after a ruling by the Yasamal District Court on the lawsuit brought by Refugee/IDP Rights Defense Committee chairperson Tatyana Chaladze. After Fatullayev’s arrest, a criminal case was opened against him by the National Security Ministry Chief Investigative Office, regarding an article published in Realniy Azerbaijan newspaper. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the article caused foreign citizens and representatives of international organizations to be concerned for their safety. He was convicted under Articles 214.1 and 283.2.2 of the Criminal Code:  threatening terror and  incitement of ethnic/national, social or religious hatred abusing authority. He was sentenced to pre-trial detention. Fatullayev was then convicted under 213.2.2 (tax evasion). He was finally sentenced to 8.5 years in prison on the 30th of October, 2007 and fined 242,522 AZN by the Grave Crimes Court.
On the 29th of December, 2009, 0.223 grams of heroin was reportedly found on Fatullayev in Prison #12. On the 6th of July, 2010, Fatullayev was found guilty under article 234.1  of the Criminal Code (illegal possession of narcotics). His sentence of two years and six months in prison began on the same date. Fatullayev and his lawyer believe that this incident was a set-up, organized so that the court could avoid complying with the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding the journalist's release.
On the 22nd of April, 2010, the ECHR issued a decision calling for Fatullayev's immediate release, and that the Azerbaijani government should pay 27,822 EUR to him in compensation. The Azerbaijani government filed an appeal with the Grand Chamber of the ECHR regarding this decision. Fatullayev is recognized as a prisoner of conscience by local and international organizations.   
Fatullayev established and was the Editor-in-chief of both Realniy Azerbaijan and Gundelik Azerbaijan newspapers. First published in 2005, Realniy Azerbaijan ran as a weekly newspaper, while Gundelik Azerbaijan was published daily. The newspapers stopped running after Fatullayev's arrest in 2007.