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Today, 6 July, in the Garadag District Court, Judge Ismayil Khalilov announced the verdict on the criminal case against the Editor-in-Chief of Gundelik Azerbaijan and Realniy Azerbaijan newspapers, Eynulla Fatullayev.
The journalist was found guilty 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 the necessary limit for personal consumption) and was sentenced to two years and six months in prison.
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 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 the necessary limit for personal consumption). After the investigation into the case was completed, it then was brought to the Garadag District Court. Eynulla 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.
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 Affairscaused 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. 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 of the Grave Crimes Court and was fined 242 thousand 522 AZN.
Realniy Azerbaijan was a weekly newspaper, whereas Gundelik Azerbaijan was published as a daily newspaper beginning in 2005. Eynulla Fatullayev established both newspapers and served as the editor-in-chief of both publications. The newspapers ceased their activity after the arrest of E. Fatullayev in 2007.