EYNULLA FATULLAYEV SENTENCED TO 2.5 MORE YEARS IN PRISON

Today the Garadag district court presided by Ismayil Halilov has read out the sentence passed on the convicted journalist Eynulla Fatulayev. Court found Fatullayev guilty on count 234.1 (illegal drug storage) and sentenced him to 2.5 years of imprisonment. Judge also decided to recover the costs of 70 AZN from Fatullayev. Judge also enacted to count out the penalty from today, but not December 31, 2009, when Fatullayev was moved from the colony to the pre-trial isolator. Fatullayev called the sentence a “disgrace” and a bright example of lack of justice in Azerbaijan. “In the criminal and authoritarian countries the best award to the journalist is a sentence,” he said. But he added that the sentence will not crush him. “I do not need any compromises – I want either everything, or nothing,” he said. The journalist’s lawyer Isahan Ashurov said the court decision is “illegal and unfair.” The journalist’s father Emin Fatullayev said the sentence is ”a political order of the presidential administration.” The Yasamal district court had previously sentenced Fatullayev, editor of the newspaper Real Azerbaijan, to two and a half years in jail on libel charges. Later a new criminal case was filed against Fatullayev on three counts – 214.1 (threat of terrorism), 283.2.2 (incitement to racial and religious hatred) and 213.2.2 (tax evasion). On October 30, 2007 Fatullayev was found guilty on all three counts and sentenced to eight and a half years in prison by the Serious Crimes Court. On December 29, 2009, 0.22 grams of heroin was reportedly found in Fatullayev’s clothes and shoes in prison colony no 12. The journalist claimed that the drugs had been planted.On April 22, 2010 the European Court in Strasbourg declared the sentences illegal and demanded that the journalist be released immediately, but the Azerbaijani authorities appealed against the decision. (Turan)

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