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Eynulla Fatullayev in court in Baku in October 2007
Jailed Azerbaijani journalist Eynulla Fatullayev is among the winners of the 2009 International Press Freedom Awards, an annual recognition by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) of journalists working in dangerous or repressive circumstances, RFE/RL's Azerbaijan Service reports.

Fatullayev was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison in 2006 for publishing an article about the consequences of a possible U.S.-Iran military conflict that supposedly caused panic among diplomats and businesspeople in Baku.

However, Fatullayev is a friend and colleague of slain Azerbaijani journalist Elmar Huseynov and has accused the government of obstructing the investigation into Huseynov's 2005 murder.

"His only crime is his journalism," Nina Ognianova, CPJ's Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, was quoted in a CPJ press release as saying.

"He is being punished for doing a job that the government has not done: investigating the murder of his editor."

The other three International Press Freedom Awards went to Naziha Rejiba, editor of the Tunisian online journal "Kalima;" Mustafa Haji Abdinur, a correspondent for AFP and editor in chief of Radio Simba in Somalia; and J.S. Tissainayagam, who is serving a 20-year prison term in Sri Lanka on terrorism charges for his work documenting government human rights abuses.

The awards will be presented in New York on November 24.
Shirin Ebadi
Iranian human rights advocate and lawyer Shirin Ebadi said she has been receiving death threats, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Ebadi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 and who is currently outside of Iran, told RFE/RL that Iranian security agents have warned her husband that she "is not safe no matter where in the world she is."

She added that the authorities have blocked her bank accounts and her pension and have confiscated her Nobel medal, her French Legion of Honor medal, and several other honors she has been awarded for her work.

Ebadi said she believes the threats and harassment are an attempt to intimidate her because of her human rights advocacy.

She added that she has been similarly threatened in the past.

Ebadi has been critical of the crackdown in Iran since the presidential election in July and has called on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to visit Iran and investigate human rights abuses.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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