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Authorities say imprisoned journalist will not be freed regardless of appeal outcome

(RSF/IFEX) - Azerbaijan's representative to the European Court of Human Rights, Chingiz Askerov, has told the BBC that the reason his government appealed against the court's 22 April 2010 ruling, calling for the release of imprisoned journalist Eynulla Fatullayev, was that it was "contrary to international norms."

Even if the court's Grand Chamber upholds the original decision, Fatullayev will not be released without a favourable ruling from Azerbaijan's Supreme Court, Askerov added.

As regards the European Court's call for Fatullayev to be paid 25,000 euros in compensation for being illegally detained, Askerov said the money has not been paid because Azerbaijan has appealed against the decision, and the ruling will no longer be valid if the Grand Chamber rules in favour of the appeal.

Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the Azerbaijani government's persistence in persecuting Fatullayev, who has been held on spurious charges since 2007. The refusal to release him shows what little heed the authorities pay to press freedom and the decisions of international bodies such as the European Court.

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