MICLOS HARASZTI EXPRESSES OPINION ON YOUNG BLOGGERS’ ARREST

July 17th, 2009
OSCE Media Freedom Representative Miklos Haraszti expressed position on the arrest of “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.

“Hooliganism charges against two opposition bloggers in Azerbaijan are unfounded and the case is fresh proof that freedom of speech is dying in the central Asian state,” said M.Haraszti.  “These are critically-minded young bloggers and I know for a fact that they were fully innocent in the dispute. There was enough eye-witness evidence to prove the men were victims in the attack. The pair went to make a police report but were detained instead.”

Haraszti added that such cases have wider implications for media freedom in Azerbaijan.

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.