FORUM ABOUT YOUNG BLOGGERS ON DISPUT.AZ WEBSITE SHUT DOWN

July 31st, 2009
Forum topic opened in connection with “Alumni Network” Youth Organization Coordinator, ANTV Online TV Leader Emin Milli and one of “OL” Youth Organization’s coordinators, well-known video-blogger Adnan Hajizade on disput.az website has been shut down by the website administration. Blogger Ali Mammadov’s user account has also been banned due to his protest against the closure of the forum. The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety was told this by Ali Mammadov. A.Mammadov emphasized that his appeal to the website administration has not given any results.

Disput.az website administrator Elnur Baimov told IRFS that no ban has ever been imposed on the forum topic. “The topic has been moved from “Khabarlar” section to “Muzakire” section since the topic is not the main topic of the day anymore,” said Baimov. “If we wanted to ban this topic we wouldn’t have permitted to launch such a discussion from the beginning. This topic has been on the website for a month already, and it received enough comments. This claim is unfounded.”

In connection with the ban on Ali Mammadov’s user account, E.Baimov said that Mammadov violated user agreements, and therefore his account was closed.”

IRFS investigated this incident and found out that although the topic regarding the arrest of Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade is still on the website, its discussion has been closed, and the last comment was written on 22 July. When visitors want to write comments on this topic, they are automatically warned by the system, “This topic has been shut down.”

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, Sabail District Court Judge Rauf Ahmadov 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. Both Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade are being held in the Investigative Prison of Baku.