ECHR to analyse Azeri bloggers' complaint against unjust imprisonment

By EDRi · September 7, 2011

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Deutsch: [EGMR prüft Beschwerde von Azeri Bloggern wegen unrechtmäßiger Inhaftierung |]

The Azeri bloggers that have been imprisoned for one year and a half under
alleged hooliganism accusations, have filed a complaint to the European
Court of Human Rights which will decide whether their detention was in
breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade were arrested in Baku in July 2009, being
accused of hooliganism, after having reported to the police that they had
been physically attacked in a restaurant. Under pressure from the
international community, the two bloggers, detained in reality for attacks,
on their blogs, against the Government and the fact that they had
disseminated a video making fun of corrupt politicians, were finally
released in November 2010. Their release is however conditional and their
convictions have not been overturned.

Consequently, the two bloggers are now seeking official recognition that the
Azerbaijani authorities violated their rights. The fact that despite with
injuries they were not treated medically in prison, breaches article 3 of
the European Convention. The Azeri government was also in breach of article
5 that protects the right to freedom and security and says that a person may
only be detained when suspected of a crime or when sentenced to

According to the Convention, the bloggers should have been informed of the
reasons for their arrest and they had a right to be tried within a
reasonable time or to be released pending trial. Milli and Hajizade were
held for the two months before the start of their trial and were still in
prison after than four months after their arrest.

The complaint also says that article 6, on the right to a fair trial, was
violated because the two people were allowed only belated access to their
lawyers because the court took no account of what their lawyers said.

Article 8 on respect for private and family life was also violated as
the two bloggers were denied family visits while held and certain family
members were not allowed to testify at the trial.

The Azeri government violated Article 10 as well which protects the right to
freedom of expression, including the “freedom to hold opinions and to
receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public
authority and regardless of frontiers.” The two people were jailed
for criticizing the authorities.

Hajizade and Milli filed a complaint before a Baku court on 8 July 2009
which was rejected on 23 July 2009. On 10 August 2009, a separate complaint
against the interior ministry, Baku police and prosecutor’s office of
failing to respect the right to be presumed innocent was also rejected.

A confidential cable from the US embassy in Baku on 9 July
2009, posted on the WikiLeaks website on 26 August, confirmed the fact that
the two bloggers did not receive medical treatment for their injuries during
their first night in detention and revealed that embassy officers’ requests
to visit the two bloggers in prison were denied.

The cable also drew attention over the fact that on 10 July 2009 Milli was
to work as the interpreter for the PACE Special Rapporteur for Political
Prisoners which seems a rather strange coincidence.

European Court to examine case of two bloggers who were unjustly jailed

US embassy thought two bloggers’ arrest was suspicious (1.09.2011),40902.html

EDRi-gram: Azeri bloggers released from prison (1.12.2010)