INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY DEMANDS THAT YOUNG BLOGGERS BE RELEASED

July 20th, 2009
International community demands that “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 be freed.

European Union Chairperson, Sweden Foreign Minister Carl Bildt conducted a discussion with President Ilham Aliyev about Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade. “We discussed this issue with the president and expressed our concern,” Said Carl Bildt. “Recently the ambassadors of Sweden and Norway addressed a letter to Azerbaijan’s president regarding the arrest of young bloggers.”
IRFS addressed an appeal to the European Union Board of Representatives Lead by European Union Chairperson, Sweden Foreign Minister Carl Bildt to conduct a discussion with the president in connection with problems in media and human rights area, and the release of imprisoned journalists and bloggers.

Amnesty International released a statement expressing concern about continuous attacks against civil society and media members. “Amnesty International is deeply concerned by the latest development in the continued clampdown against civil society and media activists in Azerbaijan. Emin Milli (real name Emin Abdullayev) and Adnan Hacizade were arrested on 8 July on a charge of 'hooliganism', and remanded in custody for two months on 10 July. Amnesty International believes that both may have been targeted for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression,” it is said in the statement. Amnesty International believes that both of them should be released immediately and unconditionally.

The statement can be viewed here: http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGEUR550062009&lang=e

Reporters Without Borders Organization addressed a letter to Azerbaijan’s Justice Minister Fikrat Mammadov asking to release Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade immediately. It is said in the letter addressed to the minister by Reporters Without Borders Secretary-General Jean-François Julliard, “We believe that the charges brought against them are baseless. Furthermore, the 10 July hearing was brought forward for no good reason, and the court took no account of what their lawyers had to say in their defense. These are serious violations of their basic rights. We urge you to contact the prosecutor with a view to getting these charges dropped immediately.”   
 
The full text of the letter:

http://www.rsf.org/Reporters-Without-Borders-wrote-to,33866.html

OSCE Secretary General Mark Perrin de Brichambaut, who is visiting Azerbaijan, told journalists that two OSCE officials sent a letter to Azerbaijan’s Foreign Affairs Minister in connection with arrested bloggers –Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade, according to Radio Liberty. Mark Perrin emphasized that they are currently conducting a dialog with Azerbaijan’s government through OSCE Democratic Foundations and Human Rights Bureau Head, Representative on Media Freedom. “I hope that Azerbaijan will respect its commitments made to OSCE.”

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. Both Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade are being held in the Investigative Prison of Baku.