ARTICLE 19 CALLS FOR RELEASE OF YOUTH BLOGGERS

December 25th, 2009
International freedom of expression organization ARTICLE 19 called upon Azerbaijan’s government to release youth bloggers Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade.

It is said in the statement of ARTICLE 19 that the Appeals Court should demonstrate impartiality during the consideration of bloggers` case, according to “Turan” Information Agency. “Their imprisonment is politically motivated,” it is stated in the appeal.
“To confirm Azerbaijan’s loyalty to freedom of speech, the verdict against Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade should be reconsidered,” said ARTICLE 19 Executive Director Agnes Callamard.
ARTICLE 19 is concerned that the journalists and media representatives are subjected to persecution, threats, and attacks due to their work and defamation is used against opposition and independent journalists to prosecute them.
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. The investigation of the criminal case was concluded and a criminal case under articles 221.2.1 (hooliganism) and 127 (inflicting intentional minor bodily harm) was opened against E.Millli and A.Hajizade and the case had been sent to court to be considered. According to the verdict of Sabail district Court, Emin Milli was sentenced to 2,5 years imprisonment and Adnan Hajizade to 2 years imprisonment on 11 November. An appeal filed against the verdict is being considered.