December 22nd, 2009
The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) regrets that the motion to change the decision regarding the pre-trial detention against youth bloggers Emin Milli (Abdullayev) and Adnan Hajizade was not fulfilled in the Baku Appellate Court. At the same time, IRFS applauds the decision to create conditions for mass media representatives and monitors to participate in the hearing and to film.

Today, 22 December, the appeal of the youth bloggers against the verdict of the Sabail District Court issued on 11 November 2009 was considered. The judge did not fulfill the motion of Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli’s lawyers to change the pre-trial decision against the bloggers that were detained on spurious charges on 8 July. The lawyers’ motion to release the youth bloggers under bail was not fulfilled either.

Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade were beaten up and received injuries after they were dragged into a provocation on 8 July. Although Adnan and Emin appealed to the police as victims, they were detained as suspected persons. The investigation of the criminal case opened under article 221.2.1 (hooliganism) of the Criminal Code was conducted with serious law violations and they were accused under a different article (127-inflicting intentional minor bodily harm) once the proceedings of their case had already begun. According to these charges, Emin Milli was sentenced to 2,5 years imprisonment and Adnan Hajizade to 2 years imprisonment.

IRFS states that the failure to fulfill this motion indicates that the bailing system does not work in Azerbaijan, and is not applied to prisoners whose arrest is politically motivated.

IRFS declares that these bloggers who were recognized as prisoners of conscience by local and international communities are the victims of freedom of expression and therefore should be immediately released.

IRFS calls on the Baku Appellate Court to issue a fair decision and to free the youth bloggers.