INSTITUTE FOR REPORTERS’ FREEDOM AND SAFETY AND MEDIA RIGHTS INSTITUTE STATEMENT

April 13th, 2010
The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) and the Media Rights Institute (MRI) condemn the decision to transfer youth bloggers Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade, who were arrested under the hooliganism charges, to prison #5 and prison #14 respectively. Prison #5 is situated in the region of Salyan, and the conditions in prison #14 do not meet standards.

IRFS and MRI recall that according to the national legislation on the execution of punishments and commitments of Azerbaijan, each prisoner has the right to serve their terms in a condition where there is respect to their personality. No prisoner should be subject to rude behavior or treatment degrading the honor of the person.

Prisoners should serve their term in prisons close to their residences. The prisoners may be sent to prisons situated in different areas for their state of health, their safety and other exceptional cases.

Transferring Adnan Hajizade, who was arrested over trumped-up charges, to a prison on the outskirts of the city which doesn’t have normal conditions or roads, and Emin Milli to a prison in the region where arbitrariness rules, is the sign of anger, prejudice and hatred towards youth with critical opinions. IRFS and MRI note that the leadership of these prisons are distinguished with their intolerance of media, prisoners’ relatives, representatives of civil societies and international organizations. Critical journalists Sakit Zahidov and Faramaz Allahverdiyev were held in prison #14, and had continuous problems regarding visits, and faced torture, propaganda and pressure.

IRFS and MRI emphasize that the subjection of bloggers to severe treatment for their critical thoughts serve to threaten people with critical thoughts, deprive them from holding discussions about the incidents in the society and government, and express their opinions clearly.

IRFS and MRI call on the government to deviate from steps that prevent citizens from participating in public and political life of society and annul unfounded court decisions adopted against youth bloggers and journalists.

IRFS and MRI call on the Azerbaijan government to release the youth bloggers and Eynulla Fatullayev, who were recognized as prisoners of conscience by the international and local communities.

A decision was issued to transfer Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade from the Baku Investigative Prison. The bloggers were imprisoned for a satiric video footage that criticized the government. Emin Milli was sentenced to 2,5 years and Adnan Hajizade was sentenced to 2 years. Hajizade was transferred to Prison# 14 situated in Gizilbash settlement. Emin Milli (Abdullayev) who is being held in the Baku Investigative Prison will be transferred to prison #5 in Salyan region that is situated 120 kilometers from Baku.