(RSF/IFEX) - 22 October 2010 - Reporters Without Borders and nine other press freedom organisations have sent a joint letter to President Ilham Aliev voicing deep concern about former newspaper editor Eynulla Fatullayev's continuing detention, which the European Court of Human Rights regards as a violation of his rights and Azerbaijan's international legal obligations.
They call on the Azerbaijani government to comply with the ruling that the court issued last April ordering it to release Fatullayev, the former editor of Realny Azerbaijan and Gundalik Azerbaijan, and to pay him 27,822 euros in compensation for holding him illegally since April 2007.
Reporters Without Borders is outraged by a charge of possession of heroin which the authorities used in July to impose an additional jail sentence on Fatullayev. The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe's media freedom representative, Miklos Haraszti, has said he regards the veracity of the charge as "highly improbable" and thinks it was designed solely to block any possibly implementation of the European Court's ruling.
Reporters Without Borders and the nine other partner organisations therefore urge the government to respect its international undertakings to free Fatullayev unconditionally without delay.
Committee to Protect Journalists
Index on Censorship
International Federation of Journalists
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers
Non-IFEX member signatories:
Human Rights House Foundation
Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Media Diversity Institute
Norwegian Helsinki Committee