2010: Azerbaijan: Eynulla Fatullayev

Ilham Aliyev
Office of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic
19 Istiqlaliyyat Street
Baku AZ1066
Azerbaijan

Lt.-Gen. Ramil Usubov
Ministry of Internal Affairs
Husu Hajiyev Street 7, 370005 Baku
Azerbaijan

12. October 2010

 

Your Excellencies,

Eynulla Fatullayev Convicted on Drugs Charge as Baku Continues to Defy European Court of Human Rights’ Release Ruling

Norwegian PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) urges Azerbaijan to comply immediately with the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling that the Azeri journalist Eynulla Fatullayev be released from prison. Fatullayev remains in prison five 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. International PEN and other human rights monitors consider him imprisoned because of his history of human rights reporting. The WiPC is also deeply concerned by Fatullayev’s recent conviction and sentencing to an extra two and a half years’ imprisonment for possession of drugs, a charge that international human rights observers consider fabricated.

 

Yours sincerely

Annaguli Yildam,
Member of Norwegian PEN, WiPC

2010: Azerbaijan: Eynulla Fatullayev

Bergen, 12. January 2010

His Excellency
President
Ilham Aliyev
Office of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic
19 Istiqlaliyyat Street
Baku AZ1066
Azerbaijan
Fax: + 994 12 492 0625

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

Your Excellencies,

As a member of Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN, I express concern about the new drug possession charges against imprisoned editor Eynulla Fatullayev.

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 ethnic hatred and tax evasion.

International PEN and other human rights monitors consider him to be imprisoned because of his history of human rights reporting, an article he published in his newspaper, which argued that the Azeri support of United States foreign policy would make them more likely to be attacked by Iran. The sentence also encompassed charges of tax evasion. 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 which he denied writing. Fatullayev has a history of challenging the Azeri authorities and many believe the charges are another way of silencing him.

In an alert dated 4 January 2010, the Committee to Protect Journalists refers to past cases where criminal charges, including those related to narcotics, have been used against political dissidents as a means of penalising them for their activism.

We believe that editor Eynulla Fatullayev are detained solely for his legitimate activities as a reporter, and I call for immediate and unconditional release of Eynulla Fatullayev in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Azerbaijan is a state party.

I also seek your assurance, Your Excellencies, for calling on the Azeri authorities to take urgent measures to ensure the safety of journalists and freedom of expression.

Confident that you, Your Excellencies, will take action accordingly, I remain,

Yours sincerely,
Trine Kleven

Writers in Prison Committee
Norwegian PEN
Wergelandsveien 29
0167 Oslo
Norway
www.norskpen.no

2007: Azerbaijan: Eynulla Fatullayev

May 31th 2007

President Ilham Aliyev
Office of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic
Baku

Your Excellency;

From the non-political association of writers, International PEN, I learn with alarm and dismay of the case of Eynulla Fatullayev, a journalist who has been sentenced to 2,5 years imprison and faces further charges. He was convicted for an article posted on the Internet, attributed to him, which he denies having written. He will now be prosecuted for “terrorism” under Article 214 of the Criminal Code, for which he faces another 12 years in prison. No specific details are given regarding the accusations for having given help to the Armenian Special Forces. His newspaper offices have been searched by National Security agents and sealed, while is computers and other material were seized.

It seems that the treatment of Eynulla Fatullayev is symptomatic for the general situation of journalists’ freedom to express their opinions in Azerbaijan. Human Rights Watch have documented numerous cases of violence and criminal defamation charges against journalists in Azerbaijan.

Should not Azerbaijan, as a member of the UN’s Human Rights Council, be exemplary in its protection of fundamental human rights like freedom of expression? In stead, it seems that the authorities have launched a series of politically motivated flawed trials against critical journalists, thus curtailing a living, democratic opposition.

Norwegian PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee call for the immediate release of Eynullah Fatullayev  and protest against the additional sentence levied against him. We call for provisions to protect his family from harassment and attacks. We would further like to express our concern about the growing repression of the media in your country, with the sentencing of a number of journalists and writers.

Your Excellency, I urge you to look into Fatullayev’s case, and other similar cases and bring about a change in official attitudes to his and his fellow writers’ activities, even when they speak against official opinions.

I thank you sincerely for your attention.

Yours sincerely

Aase Gjerdrum                                                                    Carl Morten Iversen
Member of Norwegian PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee      Secretary General

Cc:    Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Norwegian Embassy in Baku