Tweet to Free Jabbar Savalan

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Remember how everyone sent birthday cards to prisoner of conscience Jabbar Savalan when he turned 20 in September? We’ve continued campaigning for his release, and the cards were intended to remind him that although he is in prison serving a two-and-a-half year sentence on trumped-up charges to punish him for his peaceful anti-government activities (using Facebook to call for protests against the Azerbaijani government), he is not alone.

Well, tomorrow (October 18th) Azerbaijan celebrates its own 20th birthday, of independence from the former Soviet Union, so we’re stepping up with a new action to remind the authorities they can’t suppress peaceful protest through bogus charges and jail sentences. We know from our Twitter action for Eynulla Fatullayev that we can have an impact in Azerbaijan and our messages will be read.

So today we’re starting a global twitter action with several other Amnesty sections calling for Jabbar Savalan’s release. Send a message to the President of Azerbaijan – @presidentaz on Twitter. Here are some sample messages for you to use:

 I’m calling on @presidentaz to release #Jabbar Savalan, locked up in #Azerbaijan for a #facebook post!

@presidentaz, Please release 20-year-old #Jabbar Savalan, arrested for using #facebook to call for peaceful protest in #Azerbaijan!

Then please send this tweet to share our twitter action with your contacts:

Join @amnesty in calling for the release of 20-year-old #Jabbar Savalan, jailed in #Azerbaijan for a #facebook post!

Don’t have a Twitter account? Why not join Twitter and give our action a try? You’ll also find it’s a great way to keep up-to-date with our campaign work!

Alternatively, you could share the message above on President Aliyev’s public Facebook page. Copy the text from the sample tweets above and add it as a comment to his latest update.

For more detail on Jabbar’s case, and to keep up to date with new actions in the campaign for his freedom, visit www.amnestyusa.org/freejabbar or join the Free Jabbar Savalan page on Facebook.

Freed Journalist's Letter of Thanks to Amnesty Activists

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Eynulla Fatullayev © Private

Just days after Amnesty activists organized a mass social media push to free imprisoned Azerbaijani journalist Eynulla Fatullayev last month, he was finally freed on May 26th.

Eynulla wanted us to pass on this letter to everyone who worked for his release to express his deepest thanks for your support.

To all Amnesty International activists

Dear friends,

I am a former prisoner of conscience – Eynulla Fatullayev. The other day I regained my cherished liberty, thanks to the efforts of the international community. I’m absolutely confident that it was your support and tireless struggle for my rights that enabled me to return to my life.

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Eynulla Fatullayev Pardoned!

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Just days after Amnesty activists organized a mass social media push to free imprisoned journalist Eynulla Fatullayev, he was released on May 26th!

An outspoken Azerbaijani journalist, Eynulla has long been targeted by a government intolerant of dissent. Despite a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that found Eynulla wrongfully imprisoned, he has been jailed since 2007 on a series of trumped up charges, including defamation, terrorism and incitement to ethnic hatred.

Amnesty activists around the world have taken many creative approaches to pushing for the release of Eynulla Fatullayev.  But this past week, we tried something new–we joined a global Amnesty Twitter action for Eynulla. Activists took to Twitter with photos and messages aimed at the President of Azerbaijan with the message “Free Eynulla Fatullayev!” (or in Azeri: “Eynulla Fatullayevi azad et”).

Sample tweet to free Eynulla

Although we welcome the news of Eynulla’s pardon and release, we have to see how the government follows through and we remain concerned about his safety and the safety of other journalists in Azerbaijan.  We’ll keep you posted.

Thanks again for all of your actions on behalf of Eynulla!

Tweet to Free Eynulla Fatullayev

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Amnesty supporter participates in Eynulla Fatullayev Twitter campaign

An outspoken Azerbaijani journalist, Eynulla Fatullayev, has long been targeted by a government intolerant of dissent.

Despite a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that found Eynulla wrongfully imprisoned, he has been jailed since 2007 on a series of trumped up charges, including defamation, terrorism and incitement to ethnic hatred.

Fatullayev is not only a prisoner of conscience, but also a defender of human rights and a peace activist. He is one of a few Azerbaijani citizens to call for dialogue with Armenians of the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

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Clinton sees human rights "progress" in Azerbaijan as it prolongs famed journalist’s sentence

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The same week US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Azerbaijan, a court in the post-Soviet country added another two years of sentence to the most prominent journalist behind bars.

Speaking of human rights in Azerbaijan during her early July trip, Secretary Clinton said: “We’ve seen a lot of progress in Azerbaijan in the last 18 years.”

Eynulla Fatullayev would disagree. On July 6, while Secretary Clinton was still in the region, he was convicted of “possession of drugs” – even as the European Court of Human Rights had recently ordered Azerbaijan to release the journalist imprisoned on a number of charges.

Fatullayev, considered a prisoner of conscience and a human rights defender by Amnesty International, is already serving an eight-and-a-half-year prison sentence on ridiculous charges — terrorism (for writing an article while in prison!), defamation, incitement of racial hatred (for visiting a disputed region and interviewing “enemies”) and tax evasion — charges which the European Court of Human Rights quashed earlier this year.

You Traitor, You Terrorist, You Drug Addict!

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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.”