Newspapers Evicted in Azerbaijan
The Committee to Protect Journalists reports on the latest outrage against free expression from the self-described "land of tolerance":
Local authorities evicted the independent Russian-language weekly Realny Azerbaijan and the Azeri-language daily Gündalik Azarbaycan from their Baku offices on Sunday night, saying that the publications’ building violates safety regulations. The action comes amid a series of threats, attacks, and cases of harassment targeting the muckraking newspapers—including, most recently, an anonymous death threat against their imprisoned editor, Eynulla Fatullayev.
“We are alarmed by the threat made against Eynulla Fatullayev and call on Azerbaijani authorities to take every necessary step to protect our colleague and thoroughly investigate the threats against him,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. “Given Azerbaijani officials’ long record of harassing critical publications, we view the alleged building violations with great skepticism and urge authorities to allow the journalists to continue their work without further interruption.”
On May 17, an unidentified man called Fatullayev’s mother at home and threatened to kill her son in prison if the two newspapers continued to publish, Realny Azerbaijan reported. In April, Fatullayev was sentenced to 30 months in prison on charges of libeling and insulting Azerbaijanis. Fatullayev said the charges were fabricated, and an appeal is expected to be heard on June 6.