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Journalists Fast to Demand Fatullayev's Release

Paris – protest in support of jailed journalist Eynulla Fatullayev in front of the Azerbaijani Embassy, 20Apr2011
A group of Azerbaijani journalists has held a
one-day protest fast in Baku to mark the fourth anniversary of the imprisonment
of journalist Eynulla Fatullayev, RFE's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Yesterday's action also marked the one-year anniversary of the
Strasbourg-based European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) ruling that Fatullayev
should be released and paid compensation.

Fatullayev was arrested in 2007 on charges of tax evasion, instigation of
terror, and defamation. Despite the ECHR ruling, authorities later convicted
him on drug charges and extended his prison term.

Journalist Shahvalad Chobanoglu told RFE on April 20 that some
20 journalists joined the action by holding a protest in his or her office.

"We protest despite the fact there is no result," Chobanoglu said. "It's our
duty and we have to [hold the demonstration]. We demand the issue [of
Fatullayev's imprisonment] be kept on the agenda. It's a peaceful method of
struggle in [countries ruled by] authoritarian regimes."

The slogans of the protest were "Attention! The fifth year of the arrest has
started!" and "Freedom for Eynulla Fatullayev!"

Fatullayev initiated the protest but his colleagues advised him not to join it,
his lawyer, Anar Qasimov, told RFE.

Other protests were held in London and Paris this week in which
demonstrators wore masks bearing Fatullayev's face in rallies outside the
Azerbaijani Embassies in those cities.

The London demonstration was organized by five human rights
organizations based there: Amnesty International, Article 19, The Index on Censorship,
International PEN, and the Media Diversity Institute.

Compiled by RFE's Azerbaijani service and O wire.