Government Should Free Young Activists Convicted After Staged Attack
Today’s ruling is yet another setback for freedom of expression in Azerbaijan. The case is blatantly part of a pattern of prosecutions in which the authorities have brought trumped-up charges against outspoken journalists and activists in Azerbaijan.Giorgi Gogia, South Caucasus researcher for Human Rights Watch
(New York) – The Azerbaijani government should release two bloggers who have been detained since July 2009 as the result of a staged fight designed to frame them, Human Rights Watch said today. The bloggers, Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade, lost their appeal against their conviction today.
In a hearing that lasted two and a half hours, the Baku Appeal Court upheld the trial court’s decision in November, convicting Milli and Hajizade of hooliganism and inflicting minor bodily harm. The Appeal Court did not examine the two bloggers’ central contention, that the attack that led to their conviction had been deliberately staged to frame them, even though multiple witnesses would corroborate their claim.