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Monday, May 16, 2022

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Hajizada still in jail after appeal postponed twice

Alumnus and activist Adnan Hajizada's appeal is set for Feb. 6 after being delayed twice, once by the defense.

Hajizada's first appeal, which was scheduled for Jan. 8, was postponed when the complaining witnesses, Babak Huseynov and Vusal Mammadov, were not there. The second appeal date was postponed when a lawyer of Hajizada and fellow activist, Emin Milli, was sick.

The Azeri equivalent to a subpoena has not reached Huseynov and Mammadov because they do not live at the address that was given to the court, according to the Turan Information Agency. The documents have continued to be returned.

Hajizada, Richmond College 'o5, and Milli were found guilty of hooliganism and inflicting bodily harm after they were involved in a fight in a restaurant in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

Supporters of Hajizada and Milli said the charges were false and brought only because the two were activists.

Several supporters carried posters that said "Freedom for Adnan & Emin" and "We want free media in Azerbaijan" in Paris, London and Baku on Jan. 22. Reporters Without Borders organized the Paris rally.

"Reporters Without Borders hails these international protests, which serve to show the Azerbaijani government that it cannot continue to detain these two bloggers unjustly without further damage to the country's international image," Reporters Without Borders posted on its Web site.

Hajizada founded a youth movement, called Ol!, which spoke out against government corruption by using technology such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. In June 2009 Ol! members posted a satirical video criticizing the government for spending money to import donkeys. About one month later, Hajizada and Milli were arrested. The activists' supporters said the government had been attempting to silence dissenters and had made Hajizada and Milli examples through their arrest. Several other journalists and activists have faced criminal charges in Azerbaijan, many of which are argued to be false and only meant to stop opposition.

Reporters Without Borders representatives also said they were exasperated at how slowly the trial and appeal have been carried out. Hajizada and Emin were arrested on July 8, 2009, and convicted Nov. 11, 2009.

Contact staff writer Stephanie Rice at stephanie.rice@richmond.edu.

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