SUPREME COURT DOES NOT FULFILL BLOGGERS’ APPEAL

August 19th, 2010

Today, the 19th of August, a hearing was held in the Supreme Court on the cassation appeal of youth bloggers Emin Milli (Abdullayev) and Adnan Hajizade. Supreme Court chairman Ali Seyfaliyev chaired the hearing.

The bloggers’ defense lawyers Isakhan Ashurov and Elton Guliyev, state plaintiff Mehbali Gurbanov, journalists, monitors and diplomatic corps representatives took part in the hearing.

 

The defense lawyers said that the verdicts issued by the lower courts are unfounded; when they adopted decisions, they did not consider evidence provided by the defendants, the bloggers’ personality or their family situation. The lawyers asked the court to annul the decisions of the lower courts and to issue criminal verdicts against the judges who issued those decisions.

 

State plaintiff Mehbali Gurbanov said that the cassation complaint was unfounded and asked the court to uphold the decisions.

 

The judge left for deliberation and said that the verdict would be issued in several hours. Upon returning from deliberation, the judge announced that the bloggers’ appeal was not fulfilled and the verdict to keep them imprisoned was upheld.

 

Lawyer Isakhan Ashurov told journalists that they will soon file an appeal in the European Court of Human Rights regarding the bloggers’ case.

 

BACKGROUND

 

On the 8th of July 2009, Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade were sitting at a table in “Lebonese”  (Livan) restaurant along with several other young adults, when two people who looked like sportsmen came up to them and attacked them. Milli and Hajizade were both physically injured in the attack. Although they appealed to the police as victims, the police detained Milli and Hajizade as suspects for 48 hours but freed the attackers. On the 10th of July 2009, Sabail District Court judge Rauf Ahmadov issued a decision under article 221.2.1 (hooliganism) of the Criminal Code to sentence Milli and Hajizade to a two-month pre-trial detention. On the 20th of July 2009, the Appellate Court upheld the decision of the lower court. The investigation of the criminal case (special format lawsuit) ended, and a criminal case (special format lawsuit) under articles 221.2.1 (hooliganism) and 127 (inflicting intentional minor bodily harm) was then opened against Millli and Hajizade.  This case was sent to the Sabail District Court for consideration. On the 11th of November 2009, the court sentenced Milli to 2,5 years and Hajizade to 2 years in prison. On the 10th of March 2010, the Baku Appellate Court adopted a decision to uphold the verdict of the Sabail District Court. Local and international organizations recognize the youth bloggers as prisoners of conscience.