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Azerbaijan Appeals European Court Ruling On Jailed Journalist

Journalist Eynulla Fatullayev in Baku court on April 28
Journalist Eynulla Fatullayev in Baku court on April 28
BAKU -- Azerbaijani authorities have appealed the verdict handed down by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) with regard to jailed journalist Eynulla Fatullayev, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

The Strasbourg-based court ruled in April that Fatullayev should be immediately released and paid 25,000 euros ($32,076) in compensation.

Chingiz Asgarov, Azerbaijan's representative at the ECHR, told journalists on July 16 that Azerbaijan has always implemented European court rulings but that Fatullayev's case is different.

"The European Court ruling on Eynulla Fatullayev is to be implemented by July 22," he said. "However it will not be implemented [by that date] because Azerbaijan has appealed the ruling to the Upper Chamber; in the event that the Upper Chamber rejects the appeal, the ruling will be implemented from that date."

Fatullayev, editor of the newspaper "Realni Azerbaijan," is an outspoken critic of the Azerbaijani leadership. He is currently serving an 11-year prison term on four charges: instigation of terror, defamation, tax evasion, and illegal possession of drugs. The most recent verdict, for possession of drugs in prison, was handed down on July 6.

Local and international human rights watchdogs say all the charges against Fatullayev were fabricated and they have demanded his immediate and unconditional release.