Azeri bloggers appeal hearing today

Update: The hearing for Emin Abdullayev and Adnan Hajizade has been put back to 8 January 2010. Please continue to send letters on their behalf.

A new urgent action, and update, from Amnesty International on the case of the jailed Azeri bloggers.

Two jailed male Azerbaijani youth activists and bloggers will have their appeal heard in the capital, Baku, on 22 December. Emin Abdullayev and Adnan Hajizade were imprisoned on charges Amnesty International believes to have been fabricated.

The two youth activists and bloggers were arrested on charges of “hooliganism” on 8 July, after reporting to police that they had been assaulted in a restaurant in Baku. Their arrest came just over a week after Adnan Hajizade posted a video critical of the Azerbaijani government on the video-sharing website YouTube. On 11 November, Adnan Hajizade was sentenced to two years, and Emin Abdullayev to two and a half years, after being convicted in an unfair trial.

On 23 November, Emin Abdullayev and Adnan Hajizade’s lawyers filed an appeal against the verdict. On 10 December the lawyers informed Amnesty International that the two youth activists and bloggers had been granted a hearing at the Baku Court of Appeal on 22 December.

Please write immediately in English, Azeri, or your own language:

  • Urging the authorities to ensure that Adnan Hajizade and Emin Abdullayev receive a fair appeal hearing in line with international fair trial standards;
  • Noting that Amnesty International believes them to be prisoners of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression and association, and is calling for their immediate and unconditional release.

I have prepared updated letters to the Minister of Justice, the Ombudsperson and the Azerbaijan Embassy in London.