Council of Europe Concerned about Hunger Strike by Journalists in Azerbaijan – Council of Europe Official Representative
Azerbaijan, Baku, 1 April / Trend corr. J.Babayeva, S.Ilhamgizi / Denis Bribosia, a special representative of Council of Europe Secretary General to Azerbaijan, informed Trend that the Council of Europe is concerned about the hunger strike of the journalists in Azerbaijan.
The Council of Europe representative visited the journalists who are on a hunger strike.
"It is regretful that journalists had to go on a hunger strike to be heard by the public. Physical assault on the journalists is unacceptable. Journalists express their protest against attacks through such methods," Bribosia said.
Bribosia added that Council of Europe Secretary General will be informed about the protest actions by journalists. Council of Europe Monitoring Group to hold monitoring on freedom of speech in Azerbaijan.
"Council of Europe is sure that Azerbaijan being a sovereign state can tackle its problems independently. I hope that the journalists in the country will not be attacked again," Bribosia said.
"Arzu Abdullayeva, the Head of Committee for Protection of Freedom of Expression, has joined the hunger strike today," Shahvalad Chobanoglu, the chief editor of Gundalik Azerbaijan said to Trend .
On 26 March, the imprisoned Fatullayav went on a hunger strike. The editor-in-chief demands objective consideration of his case, release of the arrested journalists and application of concrete protection mechanisms of the Council of Europe and OSCE.
The chief editor of Gundelik Azerbaijan newspaper- Shahvalad Chobanoglu, editor-in-chief of Yeni Musavat newspaper- Zahid Safaroglu and journalist of the newspaper- Elshan Balakhanli, are on a hunger strike for the five consecutive days to support the editor-in-chief of Gundalik Azerbaijan and Realniy Azerbaijan newspaper, Eynulla Fatullayev.
Fatullayev, editor-in-chief of the Gundalik Azerbaijan and Realni Azerbaijan newspapers was sentenced to eight years and six months in prison after the decision of the Heinous Crimes Court on 30 October. The sentence was read in the Heinous Crimes Court of Azerbaijan on 30 October 2007. Fatullayev was charged of violating Articles 214.1 (terrorism), 283.2.2 (hostility) and 213.2.2 (tax evasion) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. Fatullayev allegedly did not pay tax in the amount of AZN 242,522. Fatullayev was charged as a result of the articles published in his newspapers by the lawsuit of Tatyana Chaladzeh, head of the State Committee on Refugees and Internally Displaced People (IDP) on 20 April.
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