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Appeal for Release of Azeri Journalist

IWPR joins other campaigners to call for freeing of detainee, saying his imprisonment breaches Baku’s international legal commitments.
By IWPR

IWPR and ten other freedom of expression organisations have written an open letter to the Azerbaijan president Ilham Aliev calling for the immediate and unconditional release of imprisoned journalist Eynulla Fatullayev.

“Eynulla has been a vital figure for independent media in Azerbaijan, both as a journalist and as a media owner. His continued detention is a breach of European rulings and international norms, and we ask the authorities to reconsider their position and ensure his speedy release."

Anthony Borden,
IWPR Executive Director

The letter states that Fatullayev’s continued imprisonment constitutes a breach of Azerbaijan’s international legal commitments and a violation of Fatullayev’s rights.

On April 22 this year, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Fatullayev’s imprisonment constituted a violation of his freedom of expression and right to a fair trial, and ordered the Azerbaijani government to immediately release him and pay him 27,822 euros for damages and legal expenses.

“As a member state of the Council of Europe and a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, Azerbaijan is obligated to comply with judgements of the European Court of Human Rights,” the letter says.

“We are deeply disturbed by the latest charge against Mr Fatullayev of drug possession, for which he currently remains in prison. As Miklos Haraszti publicly stated as OSCE Representative for Freedom of the Media in December 2009, this charge is ‘highly improbable’, and ‘aimed at pre-empting the European Court of Human Rights’ [then] expected verdict’.”

Anthony Borden, the Executive Director of IWPR, and one of the signatories to the letter, said, “Eynulla has been a vital figure for independent media in Azerbaijan, both as a journalist and as a media owner. His continued detention is a breach of European rulings and international norms, and we ask the authorities to reconsider their position and ensure his speedy release." 

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