International PEN welcomes the April 22, 2010 decision of the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled unanimously that Eynulla Fatullayev’s 2007 convictions were contrary to his right freedom of expression, as stated under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The European Court’s position is that Eynulla Fatullayev should be released immediately and should also be given compensation. PEN urges the Azerbaijani authorities to meet the terms of the European Court’s ruling without delay.

Background Information

Eynulla Fatullayev, editor of Russian language weekly Realny Azerbaijan and the Azeri language weekly Gündelike Azerbaijan, was sentenced to eight and a half years on charges of defamation, terrorism, incitement of ethnic hatred and tax evasion. Human rights organizations consider him to be imprisoned because of his history of human rights reporting, including an article he published in his newspaper which argued that the Azerbaijani support of United States foreign policy would make an attack on Azerbaijan by Iran more likely. At the time of the sentencing in October 2007, Fatullayev was already serving a sentence of two and-a-half years on charges of libel and insult for an article that he denied writing. Fatullayev has a history of challenging the Azerbaijani authorities and many believe the charges are another way of silencing him.

More recently, while Fatullayev was serving his sentence at Prison #12, in Baku, prison guards allegedly found 0.22 grams of heroin in his prison cell on December 30, 2009. He was taken to the Garadag District Court, where after a fifteen minute hearing, a judge ordered that he should be held in an isolation cell while he awaits trial on drug possession charges. This trial is ongoing. If found guilty, Fatullayev could be imprisoned for an additional three years. International human rights observers have concluded that these charges have been fabricated and are being used to further penalize him for his opinions.

Write A Letter

  • Urging the Azerbaijani authorities to release Eynulla Fatullayev immediately and to grant him compensation for the unfair trial, as ruled by the European Court on Human Rights;
  • Calling on the Azerbaijani authorities to drop the drugs charges against Eynulla Fatullayev;
  • Calling for an end to the imprisonment and harassment of journalists in Azerbaijan in the practice of their right to freedom of expression.

Send Your Letter To

President Ilham Aliyev
Office of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic
19 Istiqlaliyyat Street
Baku AZ1066 Azerbaijan
Fax: 00 994 12 492 0625
E-mail: [email protected]
Minister of Internal Affairs
Lt.-Gen. Ramil Usubov
Ministry of Internal Affairs
Husu Hajiyev Street 7, 370005
Baku, Azerbaijan
Fax:  + 994 12 492 45 90

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Azerbaijan in your country if possible.
Please contact PEN if sending appeals after June 30, 2010.