EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Azerbaijan Refuse to Comply With European Court Judgment About Journalist Eynulla Fatullayev

Posted by Info on 14/11/2010

The Azerbaijan Supreme Court has refused to abide by a binding European Court of Human Rights judgment to release a wrongfully imprisoned Eynulla Fatullayev, one of the country’s most prominent journalists.

On November 11, 2010, the extraordinary plenary meeting of the Azerbaijani Supreme Court reviewed the October European Court of Human Rights findings that Fatullayev had been wrongly charged and imprisoned. The Supreme Court dropped the criminal charges involved in the case, but ignored the key requirement in the judgment to free Fatullayev immediately.

The European Court found in April that Azerbaijan had violated Fatullayev’s right to freedom of expression in a grossly disproportionate manner by imprisoning him, and, in an exceptional move, called for his immediate release. On October 4, the decision became final and legally binding on Azerbaijan.

Fatullayev has been in prison since April 2007, following his conviction for civil and criminal defamation for an internet posting about an episode during the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Six months after the first conviction, he was found guilty of threatening terrorism and inciting ethnic hatred, based on another set of articles, resulting in a total sentence of eight-and-a- half years.

Fatullayev’s continued detention is one high-profile case, but it is part of a series of attacks on freedom of expression in Azerbaijan. Last month, Human Rights Watch released the report “Beaten, Blacklisted, and Behind Bars: The Vanishing Space for Freedom of Expression in Azerbaijan,” documenting the government’s efforts to limit freedom of expression in Azerbaijan.

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