International Press Freedom Awards

Eynulla Fatullayev, Azerbaijan, Realny Azerbaijan



When Eynulla Fatullayev's friend and colleague Elmar Huseynov was murdered in 2005, the journalist set out to find the killers. After his reporting raised the possibility of government complicity in the killing, Fatullayev found himself in jail.

Fatullayev was working as an investigative reporter for Monitor magazine in 2005, when Huseynov, its founder and editor, was assassinated. Two years later, after founding the newspaper Realny Azerbaijan, Fatullayev wrote an in-depth article that charged Azerbaijani authorities with ignoring evidence in the murder and obstructing the investigation. The article, "Lead and Roses," published in Realny Azerbaijan, alleged that Huseynov's murder was ordered by high-ranking officials in Baku and carried out by a criminal group.

Within days of publishing the piece, Fatullayev began receiving death threats. Months later, he was convicted on charges of libeling Azerbaijanis in an Internet posting that was falsely attributed to him. His newspaper's offices were raided and shut down. He was then convicted on a number of other fabricated charges, including a "terrorism" count apparently based on his published analysis of Azerbaijan's policies toward Iran, and sentenced to an eight-year prison term. In 2009, he was hit with another trumped-up indictment that added two and a half years to his term.

In March 2010, the European Court of Human Rights ordered Fatullayev's immediate release, but Azerbaijani authorities continued to hold the journalist for more than a year. After intense international advocacy, he was freed in May 2011. In an interview with CPJ the day after his release, Fatullayev described his ordeal and thanked the international community for their sustained support during his four-year imprisonment.


To watch Eynulla Fatullayev's 2011 acceptance speech, click here.

2015
Cándido Figueredo Ruíz (Paraguay), Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (Syria), Zone 9 Bloggers (Ethiopia), Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque,“Zunar” (Malaysia)

2014
Aung Zaw (Burma), Siamak Ghaderi (Iran), Mikhail Zygar (Russia), Ferial Haffajee (South Africa)

2013
Janet Hinostroza (Ecuador), Bassem Youssef (Egypt), Nedim Şener (Turkey), Nguyen Van Hai (Vietnam)

2012
Mauri König (Brazil), Dhondup Wangchen (China), Azimjon Askarov (Kyrgyzstan), Mae Azango (Liberia)

2011
Mansoor al-Jamri (Bahrain), Natalya Radina (Belarus), Javier Valdez Cárdenas (Mexico), Umar Cheema (Pakistan)

2010
Mohammad Davari (Iran), Nadira Isayeva (Russia), Dawit Kebede (Ethiopia), Laureano Márquez (Venezuela)

2009
Mustafa Haji Abdinur (Somalia), Naziha Réjiba (Tunisia), Eynulla Fatullayev (Azerbijan), J.S. Tissainayagam (Sri Lanka)

2008
Bilal Hussein (Iraq), Danish Karokhel and Farida Nekzad (Afghanistan), Andrew Mwenda (Uganda), Hector Maseda Gutiérrez (Cuba)

2007
Dmitry Muratov (Russia), Mazhar Abbas (Pakistan), Adela Navarro Bello (Mexico), Gao Qinrong (China)

2006
Jesús Abad Colorado (Colombia), Jamal Amer (Yemen), Madi Ceesay (The Gambia), Atwar Bahjat (Iraq)

2005
Galima Bukharbaeva (Uzbekistan), Beatrice Mtetwa (Zimbabwe), Lúcio Flávio Pinto (Brazil), Shi Tao (China)

2004
Svetlana Kalinkina (Belarus), Aung Pwint and Thaung Tun (Burma), Alexis Sinduhije (Burundi), Paul Klebnikov (United States)

2003
Abdul Samay Hamed (Afghanistan), Aboubakr Jamai (Morocco), Musa Muradov (Russia), Manuel Vázquez Portal (Cuba)

2002
Ignacio Gómez (Colombia), Tipu Sultan (Bangladesh), Irina Petrushova (Kazakhstan), Fesshaye Yohannes (Eritrea)

2001
Jiang Weiping (China), Geoff Nyarota (Zimbabwe), Horacio Verbitsky (Argentina), Mazen Dana (West Bank)

2000
Zeljko Kopanja (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Modeste Mutinga (DRC), Steven Gan (Malaysia), Mashallah Shamsolvaezin (Iran)

1999
Jesús Joel Díaz Hernández (Cuba), Baton Haxhiu (Kosovo), Jugnu Mohsin and Najam Sethi (Pakistan), María Cristina Caballero (Columbia)

1998
Grémah Boucar (Niger), Gustavo Gorriti (Panama), Pavel Sheremet (Belarus), Ruth Simon (Eritrea)

1997
Viktor Ivancic (Croatia), Freedom Neruda (Ivory Coast), Christine Anyanwu (Nigeria). Ying Chan (United States) and Shieh Chung-Liang (Taiwan)

1996
Ocak Isik Yurtçu (Turkey), Daoud Kuttab (Palestinian Authority), J. Jesus Blancornelas (Mexico), Yusuf Jameel (India)