Eynulla Fatullayev Caged for Appeal Hearing
PEN International condemns the humiliating treatment of journalist Eynulla Fatullayev, who was caged by Azerbaijani authorities at his recent appeal hearing. It calls for the Azerbaijani government to comply with the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling that Fatullayev be released from prison. Fatullayev remains incarcerated six months after the European Court ruled unanimously that he had been convicted on charges contrary to his right to freedom of expression and that he should be freed and compensated for his detention. PEN and other human rights monitors consider him to be imprisoned because of his history of human rights reporting. On July 6, 2010, Fatullayev was convicted on a drug possession charge and sentenced to a further two and a half years in prison, adding to his previous eight-and-a-half-year sentence. International human rights observers maintain that the drug charge was fabricated. On November 5, 2010, a Baku court heard Fatullayev’s appeal against his drug possession conviction.
Eynulla Fatullayev, the former editor of the now-defunct Russian language weekly Realny Azerbaijan and the Azeri language weekly Gündelike Azerbaijan, was sentenced on October 30, 2007, to eight and a half years in prison on charges of defamation, terrorism, incitement of ethnic hatred and tax evasion. On July 6, 2010, Fatullayev was sentenced to a further two and a half years in prison for possession of drugs, a sentence set to begin in full starting from the date of conviction. As he had already served half a year in pre-trial isolation, this effectively added another six months to his sentence. Fatullayev appealed against the sentence, and the hearing took place on November 5, 2010.
In contravention of Azerbaijani law, which requires two weeks' notification of a hearing date, Fatullayev was only informed of his hearing the morning it was due to take place, and thus his defense lawyer was denied adequate time to prepare for the hearing. Fatullayev was also forced to appear in court in a cage, which prevented him from communicating with his lawyer. His lawyer described the conditions of the trial as disgraceful and walked out of the court. Fatullayev then asked the court to suspend the hearing, but the judge refused.
On April 22, 2010, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Fatullayev’s 2007 convictions were contrary to his right to freedom of expression, as stated under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court said that Fatullayev should be immediately released and that he should be awarded U.S.$33,400 in compensation. As a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights, Azerbaijan is required to comply with the ruling. Fatullayev remains in prison.
Write A Letter
- Urging the Azerbaijani authorities to comply with the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling that called for the immediate release of Eynulla Fatullayev and to grant him compensation for unfair trial;
- Calling for an end to his humiliating treatment;
- Calling for an end to the imprisonment and harassment of journalists in Azerbaijan for the practice of their right to freedom of expression.
Send Your Letter To
Office of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic
19 Istiqlaliyyat Street
Fax: +994 12 492 06 25
Minister of Internal Affairs
Lt.-Gen. Ramil Usubov
Ministry of Internal Affairs
Husu Hajiyev Street 7, 370005 Baku
Fax: +994 12 492 45 90
Please also send copies of your appeals to the diplomatic representative for Azerbaijan in your country if possible.