Friday, April 23, 2010

OSCE media freedom representative calls on Azerbaijani authorities to comply with European court ruling, release journalist Fatullayev

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, called upon Azerbaijani authorities today to comply with a European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruling and immediately release journalist Eynulla Fatullayev from custody.

"My Office has always demanded that Fatullayev's case be handled with two dimensions in mind - freedom of the media and due legal process. Now that the European Court of Human Rights has ruled in favour of the jailed journalist, there can be only one outcome - his immediate release," Mijatovic said.

The ECtHR today said Fatullayev had been wrongfully sentenced and asked Azerbaijan to immediately release him from custody. The Court said it had found Azerbaijan in violation of Article 10 and Article 6, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Azerbaijan ratified the Convention in 2002.

The editor-in-chief of the now-closed independent Russian-language weekly Realny Azerbaijan and Azeri-language daily Gündalik Azarbaycan, Fatullayev was sentenced in 2007 to a cumulative eight-and-a-half years in prison on charges on defamation, incitement of ethnic hatred, terrorism and tax evasion.

On 24 November 2009, the Committee to Protect Journalists honoured Fatullayev with its annual International Press Freedom Award.

Press Release: OSCE. Published in Vienna on 22 April 2010

PACE rapporteur joins Strasbourg Court’s call to free Fatullayev

Christoph Strässer (Germany, SOC), rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on political prisoners in Azerbaijan, has welcomed today’s judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, which held that the prison sentence against opposition journalist Eynulla Fatullayev violates, among other things, the freedom of expression and of information protected by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

"As the Court rightly recalled, this violation must be ended without delay, by releasing Mr Fatullayev. I call on the authorities of Azerbaijan to put an end to the injustice done to this journalist, who has already spent far too much time in prison," said Mr Strässer.

He is due to visit Azerbaijan later in 2010 in an effort to help clarify the situation of a number of other alleged political prisoners in the country.

Press Release: PACE. Published in Strasbourg on 22 April 2010

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