July 11, 2009 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Two bloggers held on hooliganism charges

Reporters Without Borders condemns yesterday’s decision by judge Rauf Ahmadov of the Sabail district court in Baku to place two well-known young bloggers, Adnan Hadji Zadeh (Gadjizade) and Emin Mili, in pretrial detention for two months. Arrested on 8 July after being beaten up in a Baku café, they are charged with hooliganism under article le 222.1 of the criminal code. “The judge must urgently reexamine the case because holding them for two months is disproportionate,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It is typical of the arbitrary judicial decisions taken with government opponents. They were not allowed to see a lawyer and the charges brought against them are baseless. We are worried about their state of health and call for their immediate release.” Hadji Zadeh, a video blogger and member of the “Ol” opposition movement, and Mili, one of the founders of a youth group called “The Alumni Network”, were in a Baku café when two men in sports clothes came up to them and attacked Mili. When Hacizade went to Milli’s defence, they attacked him too. The police allowed their assailants to leave before arresting them. Hadji Zadeh’s nose was broken in the attack, while Mili sustained injuries to a leg and other parts of the body. The police refused to let them receive appropriate treatment to their injuries. They also refused to let them receive visits from foreign diplomats. German ambassador Per Stankin said he hoped they would be released quickly. Mili was supposed to work as an interpreter for German human rights mediator Gunter Booker, who was not allowed to visit them despite requesting permission from the authorities. US embassy spokesman Dmitry Dorokhovsky also voiced concern about their arrest. Demonstrations in support of the two bloggers were held on 9 July in Azerbaijan. Journalists and civil society activists are often the target of threats and physical violence in Azerbaijan, which was ranked 150th out of 173 countries in the 2008 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. President Ilham Aliev is on the Reporters Without Borders list of “Predators of press freedom.”