The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) condemns the Azerbaijani Government for holding youth bloggers Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade in prison on trumped-up charges. The bloggers were arrested on this day last year and are still living in prison without grounds.
IRFS considers that the bloggers’ imprisonment was politically motivated, because of their criticism of the government over the internet. On 8 June, 2009, both bloggers received injuries during a fight in the “Lebanese” restaurant. They were arrested, but the people who injured the bloggers were identified as the injured persons. They were not given preliminary medical assistance. Nor were they provided with lawyers. The witnesses gave contradictory testimonies and the bloggers were imprisoned although there was enough evidence – photos, other testimonies of witnesses – to show that they were not the ones to blame for the incident. Emin Milli was sentenced to 2,6 years imprisonment and Adnan Hajizade to 2 years imprisonment. The Baku Appellate Court adopted a decision to uphold the verdict.
IRFS recalls that the bloggers were recognized as prisoners of conscience by local and international communities, and both local and international communities are demanding their immediate release.
IRFS calls upon the Azerbaijani Government to end their unfair imprisonment and immediately release the bloggers, and prisoner of conscience and journalist Eynulla Fatullayev. IRFS also calls upon the government to respect freedom of speech and expression, and to implement its commitments in this sphere.