First anniversary of arrest of bloggers Adnan Hadjizade and Emin Milli

Published on 7 July 2010

On the first anniversary of the arrest of bloggers Adnan Hadjizade and Emin Milli, Reporters Without Borders reiterates its call for their immediate release and voices deep exasperation with the Azerbaijani government’s intransigence.

“Arrested on trumped-up charges designed to make them look like criminals, these two bloggers are being persecuted for making fun of corrupt politicians in a video (,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The international community is pressing for their release but the authorities are turning a deaf ear and are continuing to openly violate the right to free expression. The pressure must be maintained until their conviction is overturned and they are freed.”

Hadjizade is a video blogger and member of the apolitical “OL! Youth Movement” while Milli is one of the founders of a collective called “The Alumni Network.” They were arrested in Baku on 8 July 2009 for allegedly assaulting two individuals in a restaurant although in reality they were the ones who were attacked.

Convicted on charges of hooliganism and “deliberate physical violence,” they were sentenced by a court in the Baku district of Sabail on 11 November 2009 to 24 and 30 months in prison respectively.

A Baku appeal court upheld their conviction on 10 March. Their lawyer, Isahan Ashurov, has appealed to the supreme court, which is due to hear the case in mid-August. If necessary, Ashurov plans to take it to the European Court of Human Rights.

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton raised their case with the authorities during a visit on 4 July, calling for their release. Many human rights organisations and international bodies such as the European Parliament, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Council of Europe have also condemned their arrest and imprisonment.

The Adnan Hadjizade and Emin Milli Support Committee has just launched a new action campaign. Go to the website and the blog for more information and to sign the petition.