Eynulla Fatullayev free!
Yes, it’s true, Eynulla Fatullayev has been freed under presidential pardon. What a rollercoaster of a couple of days!
On Tuesday, we launched a twitter action to free Eynulla Fatullayev, the Azerbaijani journalist who has been jailed since 2007 for trumped-up charges designed to silence his critical reporting of the Government. With the help of Jon Snow and John Mulholland, we asked you to take a picture of yourself with the message “Eynulla Fatullayev Azad Et!” – Free Eynulla Fatullayev in Azeri – to send directly to @presidentaz. You did us proud and started tweeting your photos, retweeting, and sending messages of support.
We’d obviously got some people in Azerbaijan rattled. During the Media Awards, photoshopped versions of the pictures we’d just taken were tweeted back at us with pro-Azerbaijan messages – you may have received some yourself.
Not that the messages and pictures were going to hold us back. We were fully expecting this to be the continuation of a long campaign – we’ve worked hard for years to free Eynulla – and then this afternoon we started to hear rumours that Eynulla Fatullayev was to be pardoned. At Amnesty, we’re very wary of rumours until we can confirm everything, and then the happy news came from one of our campaigners.
This was a great turn of events, especially so shortly after our mass tweet action! Eynulla gave our campaigner Max this message for everyone who has campaigned for his release:
“I am very happy to be released. I am extremely grateful to Amnesty International, who have campaigned since the beginning. In my opinion you saved me. Thank you to all those who tweeted.”
Over 800 tweets were sent to @presidentaz since Tuesday, and we know that without making a noise, be it by protests, letter-writing or mass-tweeting, we could never get any prisoner of conscience released. So thank you.
I’ll leave you with a video taken today of Eynulla with his family. It’s in Azeri, but the sentiment and the emotion are crystal clear.
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