Ex-Soviet Azerbaijan’s most celebrated silenced voice, journalist Eynulla Fatullayev, has seen it all: from an unsolved murder of his colleague to ongoing charges that prolong his sentence. Now, a court in Azerbaijan has given a go to prosecute the prisoner of conscience on newest charges: drugs.
First imprisoned for insulting his own people (actually, for daring to interview officials in the Armenian-controlled disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh), he was later convicted of terrorism (for writing an article – while in prison – analyzing possible US strikes against Iran) and tax evasion (for who knows why):
According to Azerbaijan’s government, Fatullayev has gone from “terrorism” to “narcotics” – according to government doctors who first found no proof of illegal drug use in Fatullayev’s blood but, on a second thought, changed their mind.
(Observers are convinced that the drug charge is to prevent possible release of Fatullayev amid pending European Court of Human Rights review of the previous sentences).
On April 9, 2010, Fatullayev had his preliminary hearing for the drug charges, alas unreported by otherwise observant world media. “His motion to not accept the criminal case for consideration and have it returned to the prosecutor-office and to investigate it by a new investigation group,” according to the Baku-based Institute for Reporters Freedom and Safety, “was not fulfilled.”
Fatullayev may not be surprised by the newest charges and the court’s unwillingness to drop them. But he, surely, is worried about the well-being of his parents. On March 17, 2010, Fatullayev’s father received a phone call ordering him to “shut up” about his son’s case or his “entire family would be destroyed.”