AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: JAILED AZERBAIJANI BLOGGERS ADOPTED AS PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE

November 13th, 2009
Amnesty International considered imprisoned Azerbaijani bloggers as prisoners of conscience, according to a statement released by the Amnesty International.  

“After studying the case in detail, Amnesty International is concerned by the lack of a thorough and impartial investigation into the 8 July incident in the restaurant in Baku which led to the arrest of Emin Abdullayev and Adnan Hajizade, and by their trial falling short of fair trial standards,” reads the statement.  
At the same time, apparently no investigation has been conducted into the complaint of Emin Abdullayev and Adnan Hajizade that in fact it was them who were subject to an unprovoked assault by the two men in the restaurant.
Amnesty International believes that the imprisonment of the two activists is part of a continued clampdown against dissenting voices in Azerbaijan, and that the two activists have been targeted for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression, rather than being charged of an actual crime they may have committed.  
"The charges against the two activists were fabricated to curtail their right to freedom of expression and in response to their criticism of the Azerbaijani authorities. Both men must be released immediately and unconditionally," said Nicola Duckworth, director of Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia programme.  
On 8 July, at approximately 8:00 p.m., Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade were sitting at a table in “Lebonese” (Livan) restaurant along with several other young adults, when two people that looked like sportsmen came up to them, and attacked them causing physical injuries. Although they appealed to police as victims, police detained Adnan and Emin as suspected persons for 48 hours and freed the attackers. On 10 July, the Sabail District Court issued a decision under article 221.2.1 (hooliganism) of the Criminal Code to sentence Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade to two months pre-trial detention. On July 20 the Appellate Court upheld the decision of the lower court. 11 November, the investigation opened criminal case under article 221.2.1(hooliganism) and 127 (inflicting intentional minor bodily harm) against young bloggers Emin Abdullayev (Millli) and Adnan Hajizade a verdict was issued. According to the verdict, Emin Milli was sentenced to 2,5 years imprisonment and Adnan Hajizade to 2 years imprisonment.