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APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS VERDICT IN FATULLAYEV CASE; ANOTHER JOURNALIST JAILED

The Institute for Reporter Freedom and Safety (IRFS) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemn an appeals court ruling to uphold the eight-and-a-half-year jail sentence of the editor of Azerbaijan's two largest independent papers.

Eynulla Fatullayev, editor of "Realny Azerbayjan" and "Gundalik Azerbayjan" newspapers and a well-known critic of the Azeri authorities, was convicted of terrorism, inciting ethnic hatred and tax evasion on 30 October 2007. According to CPJ, the government's charges were not substantiated and were instead motivated by his reporting.

A well-known government critic, Fatullayev was targeted shortly after he published a report alleging an official cover-up in the 2005 slaying of fellow Azerbaijani editor Elmar Huseynov.

Meanwhile, IRFS reports that another journalist in Azerbaijan has been sentenced to jail on spurious charges.

Mushfig Huseynov, correspondent for the newspaper "Bizim Yol", was sentenced to six years in prison for "accepting a bribe". He is also forbidden from working as a journalist for two years after his release.

IRFS contends that none of Huseynov's acts were criminal, and that the trial, which did not hear all of the defence's petitions nor penalise the prosecution for violating procedures, was unfair.

Visit these links:
- CPJ: http://tinyurl.com/2e7nne
- IRFS on Fatullayev: http://tinyurl.com/2zawf6
- IRFS on Mushfig Huseynov: http://tinyurl.com/2coq9a
- IFEX Communiqué, "Editor slammed with severe sentence": http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/87464
(22 January 2008)

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