Azerbaijan, Baku / Trend corr. K.Zarbaliyeva / The Committee on protection the right of Eynulla Fatullayev, the editor-in-chief of the Gundalik Azerbaijan and Realni Azerbaijan newspapers, is planning to hold rallies against pressure on freedom of speech and press.
Fatullayev was sentenced to eight years and six months in prison by the decision of the Heinous Crimes Court on 30 October.
The human rights watch considers such a verdict reflective of the government's growing hostility towards the freedom of expression of opinion and the freedom of the press.
The sentence was read in the Heinous Crimes Court of Azerbaijan on 30 October 2007. Fatullayev was charged with 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 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.
Court's decision on the journalist caused protest among Human Rights Watch, Reporters without boundaries organizations and the Council of Europe. The verdict on Fatullayev was appreciated as pressure on press.
Fatullayev must be released in compliance with the responsibilities taken by Azerbaijan, Arzu Abdullayev, the chairman of the Committee on protection rights of journalists and chairman of the Azerbaijani National Committee of the Civil Assembly, said. Shahvalad Chobanoglu, the editor of the Gundalik Azerbaijan newspaper, appealed to court to pay material damage caused to the newspaper by suspending the functioning of newspapers.