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Azerbaijani Supreme Court Annuls Some Charges Against Journalist

Azerbaijan journalist Eynulla Fatullayev's
Azerbaijan journalist Eynulla Fatullayev's
A jailed Azerbaijan journalist today had some charges against him lifted in line with a ruling by Europe's top human rights court -- but he remains in jail on a separate conviction for drugs possession, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

The Azerbaijani Supreme Court revoked charges of defamation and instigation of terrorism and interethnic enmity, for which Eynulla Fatullayev was convicted in 2007.

Court Chairman Ramiz Rzayev also ruled that Fatullayev has served a concurrent jail term for tax evasion.

But Rzayev said the court ruling did not extend to the 2 1/2 year sentence handed down to Fatullayev in July this year on charges of illegal possession of drugs.

Fatullayev was sentenced in 2007 to 8 1/2 years in jail on multiple charges, which he says were fabricated in retaliation for his published articles criticizing the Azerbaijani authorities.

In April, the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights ruled that Fatullayev should be released and paid 25.000 euros compensation as Azerbaijan had violated his rights to freedom of expression and a fair trial. On October 4, the ECHR Grand Chamber upheld the ruling after the Azerbaijani government appealed it.

Fatullayev's lawyer Elchin Sadiqov told RFE/RL they would appeal today's ruling to the European Court of Human Rights.