Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today joined ten press freedom organisations in
calling on Azerbaijan President, Ilham Aliyev, to release leading journalist Eynulla
Fatullayev who remains in detention despite the ruling of the European Court of
Human Rights (ECHR) of 22 April 2010 ordering his release. Instead, the authorities
have since convicted him of possession of drugs, allegedly found in his prison
cell in December 2009, in an attempt to frustrate the outcome of the ECHR case.
detention is a blatant abuse of power and contempt for Azerbaijan's
international obligations," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "Press
freedom in Azerbaijan remains elusive in the face of the government control and
manipulation of media."
organisations, the IFJ, ARTICLE 19, Committee to Protect Journalists, Freedom
House, Human Rights House Foundation, Index on Censorship, Institute for War
and Peace Reporting, Media Diversity Institute, Norwegian Helsinki Committee,
Reporters Without Borders, and World Association of Newspapers and News
Publishers have sent an official letter to President Aliyev demanding
compliance with the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights and the
dropping of new charges against Mr. Fatullayev.
conviction for criminal defamation, making terrorist threats, inciting
inter-ethnic violence and tax evasion was considered unsafe by the ECHR. The subsequent
charges and conviction for drug possession were publicly dismissed by the former
OSCE Representative for Media Freedom, Miklos Haraszti, as "highly improbable
and "aimed at pre-empting the European Court of Human Rights", says the letter
which also holds the government responsible for the health and safety of the
journalist, in accordance with Azerbaijan's international legal obligations.
The IFJ took part in
the mission of inquiry carried out in Azerbaijan in September 2010 to assess
the situation of press freedom. The mission findings included the continued control
of media by government, the closure of independent international broadcasters
such as the BBC, VOA, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as well as the arbitrary
detention of independent journalists such as Eynulla Fatullayev and bloggers Adnan
Hajizade and Emin Milli.
For more information, please contact
IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
IFJ represents more than 600.000 members in 125 countries