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Imprisoned Azerbaijani Journalist Honored By CPJ

Eynulla Fatullayev in court in Baku in October 2007
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.