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Azerbaijan: Activist bloggers face additional charge as trial approaches

hands_offAt time of writing, according to the OL! blog, youth activist video bloggers Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli have been held in pre-trial detention for 48 days on charges of “hooliganism.”

Moreover, despite huge interest in their case from the international media, as well as strong criticism and monitoring from international human rights and freedom of expresison groups, it remains unclear whether they will be freed any time soon let alone be cleared of what many consider to be politically motivated charges.

However, in an unexpected development, Flying Carpets and Broken Pipelines reports that rather than drop the action against the detained bloggers, the authorities have decided to add an additional charge of assault even though the alleged victims have so far not come forward to present evidence of their injuries. The blogger says the reason for this is simple.

Hajizade and Milli assaulted no one, she believes, and there are no wounds inflicted on anyone other than themselves, adding that she now also fears the worst.

The case of Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizada who were arrested on 8th of July and sentenced to pre-trial detention for two months turns a new leaf. 40 days into investigation, the case investigator Ziya Aliyev adds a new charge- article 127 of the Criminal Code (intentionally causing less severe damage to the health). The lawyer, Isaxan Asurov says this sentence was added due to body injuries on the so called victims’ bodies. No one has seen either victims or their fake injuries.

[…]

Thus, the bloggers’ sentence was doubled… There is no sign of their release. I wouldn't be surprised to read another new clause added soon.

Even so, and considering not only doubts over the veracity of the charges made against them but also their triviality in legal terms, Media Helping Media points out that the Azerbaijani government is violating international human rights norms. The entry was written as part of an online journalism course just held in Baku, the Azerbaijani capital.

The authorities in Azerbaijan have been urged to follow the ruling of the European Convention on Human Rights regarding the rights of family members to visit prisoners.

Hikmat Hajizada, the father of one of the two jailed Baku bloggers, says he has not been allowed to see his son, Adnan, since he was arrested early last month.

[…]

Speaking at a news conference in Baku, Azerbaijan Hajizada said he was going public with his challenge to the investigators in the case because he wanted to end what he called “illegal arrests, illegal investigations and a denial of access to those charged.”

[…]

Hajizada’s lawyer, Isakhan Ashurov, revealed that an extra charge of deliberately causing physical damage had been added at the end of the investigation and said lawyers had not been informed in advance.

Hajizada thanked all those who had been publicising the case of his jailed son.

He said the new generation of bloggers had given the older generation hope that their voice would be heard.

Meanwhile, as friends, relatives and supporters wait for the two activist bloggers’ trial to be held in early September, one local rap band Shirband has followed up their song for Hajizade's OL! youth movement with one specially written for the detainees.

Azərbaycanın etirazçı “Şirbənd” rep qrupu yeni mahnısını yazdırıb. Qaynar.info-nun verdiyi xəbərə görə, mahnı “Davam edir 37″ adlanır və həbsdə olan gənc fəallara Emin Milli və Adnan Hacızadəyə həsr olunub.

Azerbaijan's rebellious rap group ‘Shirband’ wrote a new song. According to the news from Qaynar.info the song is called “37 continues” and is dedicated to imprisoned youth activists Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade.

According to translated summaries of the song's lyrics posted on my own Facebook, the song highlights the repression facing activists today in Azerbaijan and draws parallels with the past.

it says: the 1937 is still going on, even more strictly, more seriously, now with oil and gas, the youth are beign arrested, we alawys feel these black jeeps following us behind. the general idea is that repression time didnt over, they r still going on

it's kind of parallels between Stalin's famous repressions in 1937 and repressive methods of present Azerbaijani government.

The trial of Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli is set for 8 September and Eternal Remont says that a demonstration in their support is scheduled this Friday outside the Azerbaijani Embassy in Washington DC.

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