One Blogger Freed, One More to Go
To put this into grand and sweeping terms, today was a glorious victory for freedom. The famous jailed bloggers (also known as the Donkey Bloggers) have seen their imprisoned population fall to 50%. Adnan Hajizada was released from prison today, leaving Emin Milli awaiting his trial tomorrow. RFE/RL:
One of two jailed bloggers whose case has sparked an international outcry has been released early in Azerbaijan.
Baku’s Court of Appeal ruled today that Adnan Hajizada should be freed after serving half his two-year sentence on charges of hooliganism.
Hajizada looked both elated and baffled as walked out of the courtroom a free man.
Relatives and friends embraced him as he emerged following the judges’ surprise decision to set him free halfway though his prison term.
Hajizada and fellow blogger Emin Milli were charged with hooliganism after an alleged scuffle at a restaurant in July 2009. They claim they were victims of an unprovoked attack and that their imprisonment was meant as a warning to other opposition activists...
…Hajizada said he intended to continue criticizing the government in his video blogs and will remain a coordinator of OL, an Azerbaijani youth movement.
This is great for Adnan, his family, and for journalism in Azerbaijan. Certainly, not a lot has changed in terms of the environment Azerbaijani journalists operate within, but hopefully these small steps will lead to a more open future for Azerbaijan. Emin Milli, the second half of the Donkey Bloggers, is scheduled to have his trial tomorrow, November 19th.