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Fatullayev fears for his safety in prison

(IRFS/IFEX) - 9 February 2011 - Imprisoned journalist Eynulla Fatullayev, editor-in-chief of "Realniy Azerbaydjan" and "Gundelik Azerbaycan" newspapers, has sent a letter to Justice Minister Fikrat Mammadov. Copies of the appeal, published in "Azadlig" daily, were sent to the Deputy Justice Minister, the Head of Penitentiary Service Nazim Alakbarov and Baku Investigative Prison Chief Elkhan Sadixov.

In his letter Fatullayev says that he has been involved in investigative journalism for 11 years, during which time he has written about criminal activity and informed the Azerbaijani community of what is going on in the criminal underworld. Fatullayev questions what sense there is in keeping him in the same prison with serious criminals and proponents of organized crime. Fatullayev claims his life would be in danger in prisons #1, 7, 11, 15 and 17.

At the end of his appeal, the journalist refers to Articles 72.3 and 12.3 of the Code of Execution of Punishments, and asks to be transferred to prison #9, where former court and law-enforcement employees are held. Fatullayev says he will go on hunger strike if this does not happen.

Justice Ministry Penitentiary Service Public Relations chief Mehman Sadigov told IRFS that the appeal will be considered and relevant measures will be taken.


BACKGROUND:

On 29 December 2009, 0.223 grams of heroin were reportedly found on Fatullayev in Prison #12, and on 6 July 2010 Fatullayev was found guilty under article 234.1 of the Criminal Code for possession of narcotics in an amount exceeding the limit for personal consumption. His sentence of two years and six months in prison began on the same date. His appeal against the decision was rejected.

In 2007, Fatullayev was sentenced to 8.5 years in jail for "threat of terrorism", amongst other charges. However, on 22 April 2010, the European Court of Human Rights ruled for his immediate release and financial compensation from the Azerbaijani government (27,800 EUR). The Azerbaijani Supreme Court Plenum has only partially fulfilled the decision.

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