Clinton sees human rights "progress" in Azerbaijan as it prolongs famed journalist’s sentence

July 6, 2010

The same week US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Azerbaijan, a court in the post-Soviet country added another two years of sentence to the most prominent journalist behind bars.

Speaking of human rights in Azerbaijan during her early July trip, Secretary Clinton said: “We’ve seen a lot of progress in Azerbaijan in the last 18 years.”

Eynulla Fatullayev would disagree. On July 6, while Secretary Clinton was still in the region, he was convicted of “possession of drugs” – even as the European Court of Human Rights had recently ordered Azerbaijan to release the journalist imprisoned on a number of charges.

Fatullayev, considered a prisoner of conscience and a human rights defender by Amnesty International, is already serving an eight-and-a-half-year prison sentence on ridiculous charges — terrorism (for writing an article while in prison!), defamation, incitement of racial hatred (for visiting a disputed region and interviewing “enemies”) and tax evasion — charges which the European Court of Human Rights quashed earlier this year.