On 26 May president Ilham Aliyev signed a pardon decree. Editor-in-chief of “Realny Azerbaijan” and “Gundelik Azerbaycan” newspapers is among the 84 people on the list.
In an interview to Azadliq Radiosu (RFE/RL Azeri service), Eynulla Fatulayev’s father Emin Fatullayev said how happy he was to hear that his son has been freed: “We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. We’re very happy. I will go to see him tomorrow.”
In an interview he gave to Azadliq Radiosu upon leaving prison, Eynulla Fatullayev said that he is still trying to process what has happened. He said that, considering the reality of the situation in Azerbaijan, the pardon is both miraculous and legally justified.
Fatullayev says that he did not address anyone for the pardon: “I never made a plea for a pardon, but two months ago I wrote a letter addressed personally to Ilham Aliyev. In that letter I mentioned our national moral values, and thought that he would release me after that. This is the first time I’ve spoken about this, and somewhere it prompted a reaction. In fact my release is a result of that immediate reaction.”
Eynulla Fatullayev thanked international and national organizations, journalists and public representatives for his freedom.
Upon being asked whether he will continue to be active as a journalist, he said that this does not depend on him: “If there is a guarantee on my life and activity, I will remain in Azerbaijan and work.”
Audronius Ažubalis (OSCE representative and Lithuania’s minister of foreign affairs) and Dunja Mijatović (OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media) have welcomed the news of Eynulla Fatullayev’s pardon. Audroniuns Ažubalis said that this is an important signal to all countries within the OSCE, and called on all member states to comply with their commitments to freedom of the media and release all imprisoned journalists.
Matthew Bryza also phoned Eynulla Fatullayev to congratulate him upon his release.
Original in Azeri here [RFE/RL].