Azerbaijan: Video bloggers go on trial


Two months after they were arrested, detained video bloggers Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli finally went on trial in Azerbaijan. Most observers believe that the case against the two youth activists is politically motivated and an attempt to silence the two main founders of the OL! progressive youth movement and AN Network.

Using new media and social networking sites such as blogs and Facebook to spread a message of tolerance and change, Hajizade and Milli were assaulted in downtown Baku at the beginning of July. However, rather than arrest the assasilants, the two activists were instead detained and charged with "hooliganism."

They now face an additional charge of assault.

Accompanied by protest songs, an international backlash against the authorities in Baku, and demonstrations in Western capitals such as Washington D.C., there still appears to be no respite for the two bloggers. Accompanied by video, I’ve rounded up reaction from other blogs to the action against Hajizade and Milli for Global Voices Online

Writing on Facebook, Hajizade’s girlfriend reacted to today’s trial by saying it felt as though her "heart will stop." Nevertheless, despite concerns over Hajizade and Milli’s fate, both seemed confident and in good spirits as they were escorted from the courtroom to the sound of defiant chants from those waiting outside. link

In a second post yesterday, some of Hajizade and Milli’s friends and acquaintances share their personal opinions on the case and trial so far. 

[…] while the international community has expressed its concern with the action against the two men in no uncertain terms, Thoughts on the Road says the situation is very different in Azerbaijan itself.

Nevertheless, the blog notes, there are those who are alarmed by the direction the country appears to be heading in.


Fighting windmills? Take a pill. also comments on the same tendency within society to ignore or even rationalize the prosecution of Hajizade and Milli. In an extended entry, the blogger shares her impressions after attending Friday’s court session and says that the two detained activists appear in good spirits. link

The OL! blog carries full coverage of the prosecution of Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli, and a hashtag #EminAdnan is being used to flag updates on Twitter. Global Voices Online has also has coverage of the case on its Azerbaijan country page.