Azeri bloggers abusively sentenced by the Baku court

By EDRi · November 18, 2009

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Deutsch: [Aserbaidschanische Blogger vom Gericht in Baku missbräuchlich verurteilt |]

On 11 November 2009, two Azerbaijani bloggers were found guilty on
hooliganism and violence charges by a court in Baku and sentenced to two
years and two years and a half prison respectively.

Bloggers and political activists Adnan Hajizade and Emin Abdullayev were
arrested on 8 July 2009 on false charges of “hooliganism” after they had
posted a video on YouTube mocking the purchase of donkeys from Germany by
the Azeri Government. The sentence comes after four month of pre-trial
detainment during which international organizations, institutions and
individuals continuously asked for the release of the activists.

Many freedom group protested against the arrest and the detention of the
two, considering the action was violating the freedom of expression.
Reporters Without Borders said the case disregarded all the norms of the
European legislation and Freedom House considered the case was “a disturbing

The situation of the two bloggers was also discussed on 1 October 2009
during the meeting between Elnur Majidli representing the Alumni Network,
Chingiz Ganizade, the Chairman of the Committee of Human Rights and the
High Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe Thomas
Hammarberg. Both Majidli and Ganizade asked that the Council of Europe
intervene in the human rights field in order to assist in the situation of
the two young men.

The High Commissioner mentioned that the Council of Europe was following the
trial and that the case was one of the main concerns in Azerbaijan.

Miklos Haraszti, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, considers
the sentence as a political one. “The severity of the sentences for these
young bloggers and other journalists who have criticized the authorities,
including the President and the Interior Minister, is self-revealingly
political,” said Haraszti who added in a letter sent to the Foreign
Minister: “These new imprisonments cement Azerbaijan’s image as the
pre-eminent jailer of journalists in the OSCE region. Five journalists are
currently in prison, several of them on clearly trumped-up charges following
organized provocations and unfair trials.”

After the sentence, Abdullayev called on the audience to use all means to
spread the reality of the situation in the country regarding freedom,
justice and their case. Hajizade is said to have stated that the decision
was framed in falsehoods and called on youth to change themselves and to
work together for a better Azerbaijan.

The Verdict (11.11.2009)

Thomas Hammarberg: Bloggers case of our main concerns in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan bloggers found guilty (11.11.2009)

OSCE media freedom representative protests sentence handed down to Internet
journalists in Azerbaijan (11.11.2009)

EDRi-gram: Azeri online activists framed for hooliganism and put in prison