November 12, 2010 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Supreme court partially accepts European court ruling but refuses to free journalist

Azerbaijan’s supreme court yesterday partially complied with a European Court of Human Rights ruling from last April by quashing jailed newspaper editor Eynulla Fatullayev’s 2007 convictions on charges of terrorism and inciting hatred, thereby recognising that his rights were violated. But it upheld a third 2007 conviction on a charge of tax evasion and a July 2010 conviction on a charge of possessing heroin while in prison. The supreme court’s decision constitutes a small positive step but is far from a victory because it means that Fatullayev, who has been detained since 2007, will have to remain in prison until January 2013, Reporters Without Borders said. The European Court had ruled that he should be released at once. By conceding that two of his convictions were unjust, the supreme court can claim to have eased the pressure of the European Court ruling without having to free Fatullayev. The supreme court also refused to comply with the European Court’s order that Fatullayev should be compensated financially. Fatullayev’s lawyer said he would appeal again to the European Court in another attempt to get him released. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Persecution
In latest humiliation, newspaper editor appears in court inside cage
5.11.2010 Reporters Without Borders condemns the latest humiliation imposed on imprisoned newspaper editor Eynulla Fattulayev, who was in a cage when he appeared before a Baku court today for his appeal against an additional 30-month jail sentence on a trumped-up charge of heroin possession that he was given in January. Fattulayev was only told this morning about hearing, instead of being notified two weeks in advance, as required by law, so that his defence lawyer can prepare. That and the use of the cage, which prevented him from talking to his lawyer in the courtroom, are just the latest evidence of the way the judicial and political authorities continue to harass him. His lawyer, Isakhan Ashurov, described the conditions of the trial as disgraceful and unacceptable and walked out of the court. Fattullayev then asked the court to suspend the hearing, but the judge refused. The founder and editor of two leading opposition newspapers, Realny Azerbaijan and Gundelik Azerbaijan, Fattullayev has been in prison since 2007 . The authorities show no sign of being ready to release him, least of all on the eve of parliamentary elections scheduled for 7 November, despite a European Court of Human Rights ruling on 22 April declaring his imprisonment to be illegal, calling for his immediate release and ordering the government to pay him 27,822 euros in damages and legal costs . As a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights, Azerbaijan is supposed to comply immediately with rulings issued by the European Court of Human Rights. The supreme court is due to issue a decision on 11 November on whether the country should comply with the ruling. Reporters Without Borders reiterates its call for compliance with the European Court’s ruling and for Fatullayev’s immediate release. It also urges the authorities to respect his dignity.