Fifty Fatullayevs Fighting For Freedom (shame its not on a Friday!)

Azerbaijan’s London ambassador will get quite a shock when he looks out his window tomorrow lunchtime. Instead of a quiet Kensington backstreet, he’ll come face-to-face with fifty clones of Eynulla Fatullayev, the journalist that his government locked up back in 2007 on trumped-up charges, after he published articles criticising the authorities.

The “Fifty Fatullayevs” – demostrators in rather convincing-looking masks – will face the Embassy as representatives hand in a letter calling on the Azerbaijani authorities to immediately and unconditionally release and compensate Fatullayev.

The demonstration, by Amnesty, Article 19, Index on Censorship, international PEN and the media Diversity Institute, marks the fourth anniversary of Eynulla’s wrongful imprisonment.

I’m sure you could squeeze a sandwich under the mask, so if you’re in the area tomorrow and fancy doing your bit for freedom of speech, do come along. It’s tomorrow Weds 20th April from 1pm to 2pm, outside the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, 4 Kensington Court, London W8 5DL.

Eynulla Fatullayev remains wrongfully imprisoned following his conviction in July 2010 on a charge of drugs possession. This latest charge is widely believed to have been fabricated in order to keep him in prison despite a European Court of Human Rights judgment in April 2010 relating to previous charges – only the second judgment of its kind – ordering his immediate release.

We believe that Eynulla is a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned in an attempt to silence his critical reporting of the government.

And his case is sadly just one of many in Azerbaijan, as respect for freedom of expression comes under increasing threat. Recent weeks have seen a wave of arrests in connection with pro-democracy protests; NGOs working on democracy and human rights have been threatened with closure; and two other journalists have been abducted and beaten in connection with their criticism of the authorities.

If you can’t make it to Kensington for some masked protest in the sun, you can still have your say- take action for Eynulla, by writing to the authorities, here.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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