REGIONS:

SUBSCRIBE:

Sign up for weekly updates

Appeals court upholds sentences against two bloggers

(WiPC/IFEX) - The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of International PEN strongly protests the recent decision of the Baku Court of Appeal to uphold the two-year and two and a half-year prison sentence handed down to Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade respectively. International PEN considers the continued imprisonment of both internet writers to be in breach of international standards of freedom of expression and urges for their immediate and unconditional release in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Azerbaijan is a state party.

On 11 November 2009 Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade were handed down a two-year and two and a half-year prison sentence respectively, on charges of "hooliganism" and "inflicting minor bodily harm". This verdict was upheld by the appeal court on 10 March 2010. Although charged with involvement in an alleged fight outside a bar, it is widely believed that these are fabricated charges, and that the reasons for their convictions are their postings on the Internet on government corruption, education and freedom of expression. One of their most popular pieces is a video that has been widely distributed on the internet that satirises the Azeri government's decision to pay very high prices to import donkeys, leading them to become known as the "Donkey Bloggers". The internet writers' lawyers have announced they will be filing a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights.

Both internet writers were arrested in July 2009, and were accused of "hooliganism", despite being the victims of an assault.

Emin Milli is the co-founder of the online Alumni Network organisation and the editor of the internet television site, ANOT. Adnan Hajizade is the co-founder of the youth movement OL (To Be).

Recommended Action

Minimum action: send one appeal to one or more of the government addresses below.

Further Action: write a similar appeal to the Azeri Ambassador in your country or send a copy of your letter to Azerbaijan asking him/her to comment on your concerns.

Please send appeals:
- Calling for their immediate and unconditional release, in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Azerbaijan is a state party;
- Calling on the Azeri authorities to take urgent measures to ensure the safety of journalists and freedom of expression.

Send appeals to:

President
Ilham Aliyev
Office of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic
19 Istiqlaliyyat Street
Baku AZ1066
Azerbaijan
Fax: + 994 12 492 0625

Minister of Internal Affairs
Lt.-Gen. Ramil Usubov
Ministry of Internal Affairs
Husu Hajiyev Street 7, 370005 Baku
Azerbaijan
Fax: + 994 12 492 45 90
Click here to see Milli and Hajizade's YouTube video.
What other IFEX members are saying
Case history

Latest Tweet:

On this the 3rd EU Day Against Impunity, let's remember that every day citizens, journalists, artists & activists a… https://t.co/o7oeVb03s5