Civil society and youth activists beaten and detained in downtown Baku
Two prominent Azeri civil society and youth activists – Emin Milli, one of the founders of Alumni Network, a grassroots youth movement and Adnan Haji-zadeh, a video-blogger from OL! Youth Movement have been attacked by unidentified persons while dining with a group of fellow activists in a restaurant in downtown Baku.
According to witnesses, two suspicious ‘sportsmen’ entered the restaurant, approached Emin and started to beat him while ‘telling’ him that he ‘criticizes the government too much’. When Adnan tried to help Emin, he was also attacked and beaten. According to Radio Azadliq, Emin received several injuries and cut in his leg while Adnan’s nose was broken.
After being severely beaten, Emin and Adnan applied for police assistance and medical expertise, and the police also detained the perpetrators. However, with a surprise turn, both perpetrators were released, and instead, Emin and Adnan were declared main suspects in ‘hooliganism’ act. Refused to meet their lawyer and relatives, both of them were detained for a period of up to 48 hours with a possible investigation and trial afterward. Moreover, they were transferred to Khatayi District Temporary Detention Center handcuffed.
Emin Milli is one of the prominent civil society activists and helped to forge a powerful but flexible Alumni Network (AN). An incredible pre-Facebook era social network and strong mobilization force for country’s youth was both a framework into which almost whole youth activities could be fit, and a ‘primary chaos’, particles of which then evolved into various youth organizations and movements of Azerbaijan. Four days ago, on 4th July, Emin was a speaker in a Heinrich Böll Foundation roundtable dedicated to a democratization process in Azerbaijan, where he criticized the Azerbaijani government strongly.
Adnan Haji-zadeh is one of the founders of OL! Youth Movement, a liberal entity that declares the principles of modernity, non-violence and tolerance. Adnan himself is a pioneer of video-blogging in Azerbaijan and is famous for his video reportages covering problems and challenges of youth and posted in Youtube.