As a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights,
“We are outraged at today’s verdict against Eynulla
Fatullayev and call on the Baku Appellate Court to overturn it promptly,” CPJ
Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator
Just as the
Based on Fatullayev’s account and authorities’ longstanding persecution of the editor, CPJ has concluded that the drug charge was fabricated. In January, the editor was moved from the prison colony, where he has been serving his longer term, to a solitary detention unit, where he remains, the editor’s father told CPJ today.
If not overturned on appeal, the new verdict will result in Fatullayev’s move to a strict-security prison notorious for harsh conditions and a record of inmate abuse.
Before Khalilov pronounced Fatullayev guilty today, the
editor was given the chance to speak. He told the court he had received
warnings to stop his journalism before he was first arrested in April
2007, while he was editing the now-defunct Realny Azerbaijan: “One top official told me that my newspaper irritates
the head of state because it is not only critical but also popular,” the
Azerbaijani service of the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio
Liberty quoted Fatullayev as saying. He said he is not expecting authorities to
release him because they do not want him to continue working as a journalist.
But Fatullayev went on to pledge that if released he would “produce an even
more popular newspaper than I used to,”