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Azerbaijan: Video blogger trial postponed… again (updated)

hands_offIn what many consider to be a politically motivated trial to stifle dissent in Azerbaijan, video blogging youth activists Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli once again appeared in court today.

The two young activists, exemplary in their use of new media in the region, were unexpectedly detained in the early hours of 8 July after they were attacked at a restaurant in the center of Baku, the Azerbaijani capital.

On the eve of yet another hearing, Flying Carpets and Broken Pipelines blogger Arzu Geybullayeva summed up her own feelings about the case.

Tomorrow (27th October), Adnan and Emin are going to have another hearing. Its been almost two weeks since the last one and there is still hope that they will be released. At least I want to hope so! I want to see my friends free again. I want their parents to see their sons and be proud of them. I want all of us- his friends, be honored that we have friends as them.

The following morning, L4L made a similar post albeit in a much shorter form and injected with some humor, perhaps in an effort to lift the spirits of others.

I don’t want to hear anything rational right now. I don’t want to think anything rational right now. I want them out of the jail today. Adnan still owes me few rounds of beer. So, i want them back. :)

When the trial started earlier today, supporters of the two detained activists used Facebook and Twitter to spread updates from the ground worldwide.

first_court_tweet

However, as has been common throughout the case and despite significant international outcry, many seem resigned to the fact that the authorities appear intent on dragging out the court case for as long as possible rather than see it come to a speedy end.

postponed tweet

Support Adnan and Emin yesterday listed some of the many concerns about the trial expressed by human rights and pro-democracy organizations inside Azerbaijan.

This legal trial chaired by Araz Huseynov strikingly indicates the dependence of the judicial system on the executive power and the use of trials for political pressure on dissidents and repressions, particularly against freedom of speech, thought and self-expression.

Despite likely having already resigned themselves to more of the same, the disappointment was evident in the tweets of supporters when the hearing was adjourned less than a hour after it started.

post trial tweets

Update: Some hours after the hearing, L4L made a promised second post reflecting on the day. The blog summed up the combination of both anger, frustration and hope that supporters of the two online activists must have felt.

Well, we all witnessed what happened today. Adnan’s and Emin’s court hearing was postponed once again […]. One of the witnesses was missing, so judge decided that one hour of work is enough for his conscience to continue its state of sleep for another week and told tired audience of this spectacle that next hearing will be held on November 6, 2009(2009!). Seriously, case of hooliganism that is already under investigation for almost 4 months? Should we consider contacting Guinness World Records anytime soon? […]

[…]

[…] E&A’s smile, the way they handle themselves. Dignity, positivity, courage. Love and happiness in their eyes every time they see us. The fact that they still cheer us even being behind convoy car’s bars. That makes me hopeful. That gives me strength. And I hope that our tries to cheer them up are working, that they know how much we love them and miss them. Of course, I hope that Adnan didn’t forget about 2 beers that he still owes me :)

Full coverage of the detention and trial of Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli is available in the Azerbaijan section of Global Voices Online and on the OL! Blog (in English and Azeri). The hashtag #EminAdnan is also used on Twitter.

6 comments

  • Sabina

    I am so deeply ashamed of my country. Look at how the police are treating our citizens!!! You can’t say a word, you can’t make a move. I have more rights living in another country than in my own…

    Thank you for keeping us informed, Onnik Krikorian.

  • Sabina, thanks for your comments, but just to say that the real thanks should go to those bloggers and micro-bloggers in Baku as well as their network of friends from Azerbaijan who are keeping this story very much alive online.

    Without them, and their counterparts in and from other parts of the world, Global Voices would not function. In return, we hope we are at least able to amplify their voices. Regarding the rights of citizens, yes, it’s a pity. There are very little in this region.

    Unfortunately.

  • BTW: Talking of Arzu Geybullayeva, mentioned close to the beginning of this entry, EurasiaNet quotes the Flying Carpets and Broken Pipelines blogger in this update on Adnan and Emin just posted.

    “There hasn’t been any reasonable explanation about [the delays] from the authorities,” said Nick Enz, public relations coordinator for the Baku-based Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety. One plausible scenario is that the court processes are being further drawn out because “there is no final political decision on the [youth activists] yet,” Enz suggested.

    Others expressed hope that the government was looking for a face-saving way to wrap up the trial with an acquittal. “There might be a double game in place,” commented Arzu Geybullayeva, an Azerbaijani blogger who has followed the case closely. She believes that by keeping the defendants behind bars throughout the lengthy trial, the government may be trying to impose a de facto sentence on them. Thus, if the trial ends in a not-guilty verdict, officials can nevertheless feel that they have sent a tough message to Milli and Hajizade to restrain their criticisms of the government.

    According to legal experts, unduly delaying a trial violates the right to a fair hearing guaranteed by Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Baku court has “deliberately dragged out the court trial” and “repeatedly violated Article 6,” said Leyla Yunus with the Baku-based Institute of Peace and Democracy.

    http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/civilsociety/articles/eav102709.shtml

  • […] yet another postponement in the trial of detained video blogging youth activists Adnan Hajizade and …, In Mutatione Fortitudo offers an analysis on the case so far. The blog says the authorities in […]

  • […] blogging youth activists Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli in Baku, Azerbaijan. The last court hearing was adjorned because witnesses did not turn up.Media Helping Media comments on the latest developments in what many consider to be a politically […]

  • […] activists Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli in Baku, Azerbaijan, continued. The last court hearing was adjourned because witnesses did not turn up. Media Helping Media comments on the latest developments in what many consider to be a politically […]

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