Channel 4 News’ Jon Snow and Observer editor John Mulholland will be among UK journalists joining in a ‘mass tweet’to Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev tonight, calling for the immediate release of jailed newspaper editor Eynulla Fatullayev.
Journalists and other guests at the Amnesty International Media Awards will be photographed holding a placard with the slogan ‘Eynulla Fatullayevi azad et!”, meaning ‘Free Eynulla Fatullayev!’in Azeri.
The pictures will then be tweeted to President Aliyev.
Amnesty said the action will then be rolled-out via its website, where supporters can forward their own pictures and messages urging Fatullayev’s release.
In 2007 Fatullayev allegedly faced death threats after reporting that high-ranking officials had ordered a criminal gang to kill Elmar HÃ¼seynov, the editor of opposition newspaper Monitor, in March 2005.
Fatullayev was arrested in April 2007 after publishing a series of critical news articles and was later convicted of supporting terrorism, inciting ethnic hatred, tax evasion and possessing illegal drugs, which Amnesty described as ‘trumped up’charges.
The European Court of Human Rights ordering his immediate release last April, and in November 2010 the Azerbaijani Supreme Court revoked charges of defamation, terrorism and incitement to racial hatred, and ruled Fatullayev had served a concurrent term for tax evasion.
But he remains in prison after being sentenced for more than two years for drug possession charges.
Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen, said: ‘President Aliyev will find that he can’t muzzle Twitter like he has tried to do with the media in Azerbaijan.
‘I’m sure Amnesty supporters all over the world will tweet for Eynulla’s freedom, and it’s good to see journalists leading the way and standing up for one of their own.
‘Azerbaijan should release this award-winning newspaper editor and show the rest of Europe that it respects the right to freedom of expression.”
In 2009 Fatullayev received Amnesty’s special award for journalism under threat, which Mulholland collected on his behalf.