Azerbaijan: Editor Eynulla Fatullayev loses appeal

Imprisoned newspaper editor Eynulla Fatullayev has lost an appeal against his drugs conviction. Baku Appellate Court dismissed Fatullayev’s plea to have his sentence reduced by two months. Fatullayev had the term of his detention prolonged by eight weeks earlier this month when 0.223 grams of heroin was found during his cell. In October 2007, Fatullayev, then editor of the central Asian country’s two largest independent newspapers, Gundelik Azerbaijan and Reakniy Azerbaijan, was sentenced to 8.5 years in prison for terrorism and other charges. Human Rights Watch said that this reflected growing hostility from the state towards freedom of expression. Fatullayev has been supported by a number of media rights campaigners in Azerbaijan since his arrest, including the chair of the Media Rights Institute Rashid Hajili, who has been nominated for the Law and Campaigning Award at this years Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards.