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Image: Youth activists beaten and arrested in Azerbaijan

Youth activists beaten and arrested in Azerbaijan

Last night, 8 July, around 8:00 p.m., Emin Milli (Abdullayev) and Adnan Hajizade were sitting in a restaurant with other young adults, discussing the activity of youth organizations related to the Internet. Up to them came two men, looking like sportsmen. After verbally insulting Milli and Hajizade and demanding that they stop talking politics, they violently attacked them, causing physical injuries.

Thursday, 09 July 2009, by Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS) and Media Rights Institute (MRI)

Milli, who is the Alumni Network Youth Organization Coordinator and ANTV Online TV Leader, and Hajizade, who is the OL Youth Organization’s coordinator and a well-known video-blogger, are both engaged in civil journalism. They sustained several injuries before the restaurant staff and other youth were able to interfere and save them from the attackers. While Hajizade's nose was broken, Milli possibly suffered a crack to a bone in his foot. Both were severely bruised and injured in their faces and on other parts of their bodies.

Milli and Hajizade immediately reported the incident to police, requesting medical care at the police station. Neither of them received such assistance. Both also demanded a lawyer, but when their lawyers came to the police station to represent the two, they were not allowed to see their clients for 17 hours, that is, until today 9 July, at 3 p.m.

Despite reporting to the police as victims, the police detained Milli and Hajizade after five hours of interrogation under article 221.2.1 (hooliganism) of the Criminal Code. The attackers were let free. The police has yet to make an official statement, providing further information and explaining the detention of Milli and Hajizade.

Institute for Reporters' Freedom and Safety (IRFS) and Media Rights Institute (MRI)
Based on information received from IRFS and MRI, this article has been edited and prepared for publication here by HRHF Baku / Ragsana Mammadova and HRHF Oslo / Niels Jacob Harbitz.

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