Eynulla Fatullayev is sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
Eynulla Fatullayev in his statement said:
I asked S. Arushanyan to show me the corridor which the Khojaly inhabitants had used [to abandon the town]. Having familiarized myself with the geographical area, I can say, fully convinced, that the conjectures that there had been no Armenian corridor are groundless. The corridor did indeed exist, otherwise the Khojaly inhabitants, fully surrounded [by the enemy troops] and isolated from the outside world, would not have been able to force their way out and escape the encirclement. However, having crossed the area behind the Kar-Kar River, the row of refugees was separated and, for some reason, a group of [them] headed in the direction of Nakhichevanik. It appears that the NFA battalions were striving not for the liberation of the Khojaly civilians but for more bloodshed on their way to overthrow A. Mutalibov [the first President of Azerbaijan] …” European Court of Human Rights. Case of Fatullayev v. Azerbaijan (PDF) p.3.
On April 20, 2007, BBC Azeri.com published an article about Fatullayev’s persecution by Azerbaijani authorities, that had apparently been unhappy with him for speaking out about the Khojaly. Below is the translation of that article:
Judge of the Yasamal district court Isa Ismaylov sentenced Eynulla Fatullayev, editor of the Realniy Azerbaijan newspaper, to two and a half years in prison. Eynulla Fatullayev was accused of publishing an interview in a special report called “Karabakh Diary” two years ago, in which he expressed his views on the maintenance of the corridor for the exit of Khojaly residents during the Khojaly events and voiced the same views at an Internet forum in February this year. The trial against Eynulla Fatullayeva, editor of the Realniy Azerbaijan newspaper, which began on the basis of a lawsuit filed by Tatyana Chaladze, head of the Khojaly human rights organization, lasted from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The courthouse housed more police officers than usual. Judge Isa Ismaylov of the Yasamal District Court found the editor guilty of defamation under Articles 147.1 and 147.2 of the Criminal Code and sentenced him to two and a half years in prison. Journalist Eynulla Fatullayev’s hands were handcuffed in the courtroom. Eynulla Fatullayev chanted “Long live freedom”, “Long live Azerbaijan” as he was removed from the hall. Shahveled Chobanoglu, editor of the Gundelik Azerbaijan newspaper, said that despite the arrest of Eynulla Fatullayev, the newspaper would continue its activities. Shahveled Chobanoglu also said that they would establish an organization to protect the rights of Eynulla Fatullayev and appeal the court’s decision. Khojaly residents, who appeared in court as prosecutors, called the journalist’s arrest a fair decision. Representatives of the Press Council and other journalists’ organizations were among those watching the trial. Ibrahim Mammadli, head of the Press Council’s monitoring group, described the court’s decision as cruel. Rauf Mirkadirov, a commentator for the Zerkalo newspaper, said that today’s court decision was unclear after the Council of Europe’s recent decision on Azerbaijan’s commitments to the organization.
From “Long live Azerbaijan, long live freedom“
BBCAZERI.COM April 20, 2007 – Published 18:16 GMT