Yesterday, November 11th, was the day when a court decision in the capital of Baku changed lives of two young bloggers- Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizada sentencing them to imprisonment based on faked charges of hooliganism and inflicting of intentional body harm exactly a year ago on this day.
Also yesterday, the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan agreed to finally approve the verdict to release Eynulla Fatullayev issued by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). While initially local news outlets reported on most of the charges against arrested journalist and editor-in-chief of Realniy Azerbaijan imprisoned in 2007 drop, it didn't take long for the Supreme Court come up with a reason to keep him in prison.
The Supreme Court, retroactively increased the sentence on tax evasion- initially two months- to two years and three months and 15 days. Eynulla already served two years and three months worth of his sentence, however, in December 2009, he was given additional charge for drug possession ( in prison (dismissed by Fatullayev himself however not accepted at the court). So, with this final decision, and the total time Eynulla already served, the Court managed to keep him in prison and claim that the time he has spent already in prison will be deducted from the time he was charged with tax evasion (which is exactly two years, three months and 15 days) and keep him for drug possession.
According to Elchin Sadigov, the lawyer of the arrested journalist "The Plenum had not authority to retroactively increase the prison sentence for the defendant".
Sitting at a 7th South Caucasus Media Conference in the capital of Georgia, organized by the OSCE, and listening to the representative from Azerbaijan Presidential Apparatus saying that Emin and Adnan were just hooligans, arrested with other 2000 hooligans in 2009, one cannot but wonder where Azerbaijan is going... Its so ironic that whenever it works for the government and authorities it claims that it follows European or American standards but for some reason none of these standards are applied on the ground when it comes to many things, including freedom of media, access to information, journalists' safety and much more...