YOUTH BLOGGER ADNAN HAJIZADE RELEASED

November 18th, 2010
Today, the Baku Appeals Court heard imprisoned blogger Adnan Hajizade’s appeal for early release. Judge Sahibkhan Mirzayev chaired the hearing.

Hajizade’s lawyer Isakhan Ashurov stated that the negative behaviour report submitted by prison #14 had not been properly investigated. It was this report that thwarted Hajizade’s parole application in the court of first instance. Hajizade has already served more than half his sentence, and his lawyer asked the judge to grant parole.
The representative of prison #14 Ali Nabiyev stated that they stand by their original report, which says that Hajizade should not be given early release.
The public prosecutor Chingiz Shukurov declared that Hajizade had not violated any rules in prison, and requested the judge to fulfill the appeal.
After deliberation, Judge announced that the Court would fulfill the appeal, and ruled for Hajizade’s conditional release, with 7 months and 21 days of his sentence remaining. Adnan Hajizade was set free in the courtroom.
BACKGROUND

On 8 July 2009, 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 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 10 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 20 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 11 November 2009, the court sentenced Milli to 2,5 years and Hajizade to 2 years in prison. On 10 March 2010, the Baku Appeals 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.