A UN organization has selected an Azerbaijani journalist as the winner of an annual prize honoring those who advocate for freedom of the press.
Eynulla Fatullayev, 35, is the winner of the 2012 UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, the United Nations said in a release.
Fatullayev is former editor-in-chief of the Russian Language weekly Realny Azerbaijan, as well as the Azeri-language daily Gundalik Azarbaycan. He is well known for his criticisms of the Azerbaijani government's violations of human rights and press freedom. He endured years of assault and death threats, finally suspending the publication of both newspapers when his father was kidnapped.
He was imprisoned in 2007 for four years for criticizing government policies and was released by presidential pardon last year. During his incarceration, Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists lobbied for his release. In 2011, Amnesty International classified him as a "priority case."
The award is named for Guillermo Cano, a newspaper publisher murdered for decrying the powerful drug bosses in his native Colombia in 1987. The prize was created in 1997 to honor reporters and publishers who put their lives on the line to promote freedom of expression around the world.