Editor Eynullah Fattullayev remains imprisoned
(17/11-2010) Last week, the Azerbaijani Supreme Court decided that imprisoned opposition editor Eynullah Fattullayev would not be released from prison, despite repeated calls from the Council of Europe and other international organisations. In April this year, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the sentence issued in 2007 of 8 ½ years imprisonment for, amongst other, terrorism and defamation, had violated his right to freedom of expression and a fair trial. The Azerbaijani government brought the decision to the Court’s Grand Chamber, from which it was dismissed.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is one of nine international organisations who now have issued a statement to condemn the Azerbaijani government’s failure to comply with its international obligations to freedom of expression during the period surrounding the 7 November parliamentary elections. We are deeply concerned by freedom of expression violations prior to and during these elections, which cannot be considered free and fair. We have called upon the Azerbaijani authorities to take immediate steps to address these violations and to create an environment conducive to freedom of expression.
Related to the Fattullayev-case, the Supreme Court ruling last week did lift the charges for which he received the sentence in 2007, however the Azerbaijani authorities has convicted Fattullayev on a separate matter, drug charges, to two and a half year in prison in July this year. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee monitored the trial. We dismiss the charges of drug possession as ludicrous and clearly brought in the very purpose of keeping Fattullayev imprisoned despite the decision of the European Court of Human Rights.