25/10/2010 – Eleven international freedom of expression organisations have submitted an open letter to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev calling for the immediate and unconditional release of imprisoned Editor-in-chief Eynulla Fatullayev. Fatullayev’s continued imprisonment constitutes a breach of Azerbaijan’s international legal commitments and a violation of Fatullayev’s rights.
Fatullayev has been in prison on charges related to his journalistic activities since April 2007. The European Court of Human Rights ruled on 22 April 2010 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 Fatullayev and to pay him €27,822 for damages and legal expenses. On 4 October 2010, the European Court’s Grand Chamber rejected the Azerbaijani Government’s appeal in Fatullayev’s case, making the 22 April judgment effective.
“Council of Europe Member States are obligated to comply with judgments of the European Court of Human Rights”, says Dr Agnès Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director. “We call on the Azerbaijani authorities to take immediate action to fully comply with the European Court’s ruling in Fatullayev’s case”.
In the joint letter, the organisations also called for the Azerbaijani authorities to ensure Fatullayev’s health and safety whilst in detention, in light of his current hunger strike action.
Picture (c) English PEN.