On 22 January, Reporters Without Borders joined the Adnan Hadjizade and Emin Milli Support Committee in organizing a rally at 3 p.m. outside the embassy of Azerbaijan in support of the two bloggers, who were convicted for criticizing the government and corruption, and were sentenced to two years and 2,5 years in prison respectively.

Around 30 people took part in the Paris demonstration to press the Azerbaijani authorities to free them at once and overturn their conviction. An appeal for their release was handed in to embassy officials. Similar support demonstrations took place in London.

“Reporters Without Borders hails these international protests, which serve to show the Azerbaijani government that it cannot continue to detain these two bloggers unjustly without further damage to the country’s international image,” it is said in the press-release of the Reporters Without Borders. “The press freedom organization also expresses its exasperation at the slowness with which the judicial proceedings have been conducted from the outset. It is indicative of a refusal to allow serious examination of the charges brought against the two bloggers, as well as an attempt to intimidate all government critics.”  

To view the full press-release:

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, the Sabail District Court 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. On July 20 the Appellate Court upheld the decision of the lower court. The investigation of the criminal case was concluded and a criminal case under articles 221.2.1 (hooliganism) and 127 (inflicting intentional minor bodily harm) was opened against E.Millli and A.Hajizade and the case had been sent to court to be considered. According to the verdict of Sabail district Court, Emin Milli was sentenced to 2,5 years imprisonment and Adnan Hajizade to 2 years imprisonment on 11 November.

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