IRFS CONCLUSION: EMIN MILLI AND ADNAN HAJIZADE’S ARREST IS RESULT OF GOVERNMENT’S INTOLERANCE TO SATIRE

July 14th, 2009
Videos placed on the internet by “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 have played a big role in their detention. Especially their “Interview with (Esel Heinz) Donkey” video played a decisive role. Author of the idea is “OL” Youth Organization coordinator Adnan Hajizade, and the recording belongs to ANTV Online TV Leader Emin Milli. It is noted in subtitles at the end of the video-footage that the idea belongs to OL organization and the recording belongs to ANTV.

Adnan Hajizade plays the role of “donkey” in the footage.
In this footage an interview with a donkey named “Esel Heinz” (in German- donkey) that came to Azerbaijan from Europe to conduct a press conference depicts humoristic and satiric moments about current situation in Azerbaijan. However, there are misunderstandings here. When listened carelessly, it is possible to hear one of the journalists to address to the donkey as “Mr. President” instead of “Mr.Esel.” Physical attack against E.Milli and A.Hajizade, and their arrest under hooliganism charges are related to these misunderstandings in the video footage.
The Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS) considers that this government is not tolerant of satire and severely punishes those who use satire.

It should be emphasized that “Azadlig” newspaper satiric/journalist Sakit Zahidov was slandered for possession of narcotics and was arrested on 23 June 2006 for his critical satiric poems. He was sentenced to three year imprisonment but was released this past March through an amnesty act. Therefore no one doubts that Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade have been arrested for their satiric “Interview with a donkey” video-recording.

On 8 July, at approximately 8:00 p.m., “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 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.