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Jailed Azerbaijani Journalist Announces Hunger Strike

Journalist Eynulla Fatullayev (left) and his lawyer Isakhan Ashurov
Journalist Eynulla Fatullayev (left) and his lawyer Isakhan Ashurov
A jailed Azerbaijani journalist says he will go on hunger strike to demand authorities comply with a ruling by the European Court for Human Rights to release him from jail, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Eynulla Fatullayev, editor in chief of the newspaper "Realny Azerbaijan," made the announcement today in Baku's Garadag district court, where he is currently on trial on drugs charges.

Fatullayev was jailed for 8 1/2 years in 2007 for terrorism, inciting interethnic hatred, and tax evasion. He was also found guilty at a separate
trial earlier the same year of "giving wrong information" about the killings of Azerbaijani civilians in 1992 in the village of Khojaly during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

On April 22, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg said Azerbaijan had violated Fatullayev's rights to freedom of expression and a fair trial and called on Baku to release him.

In late December 2009, prison guards at the labor camp where Fatullayev is serving his prison term found 0.22 grams of heroin in his pockets and shoes. Fatullayev says the drugs were planted by camp guards.