Wednesday, November 11

The Verdict

Today (nov 11 2009) sometime around 13.00 Baku time Adnan Hajizada (26) and Emin Milli (30) were sentenced to 2 and 2.6 years respectively. The hearing was held at an unusual hour (or more so changed deliberately so as to have small turnout) given until today all the hearings were held in late afternoon- in fact, the change in time was only announced yesterday and so many- including international observers- expected to be at the court at 15.00 not 10.30. Perhaps there was a reasoning behind that- I don't know... But it was indeed the final hearing as many supporters in Baku and elsewhere thought.

Today the government of Azerbaijan once again proved that it can do whatever it wants - all the evidence presented at the court was neglected. It showed that it doesn't care about what international organizations/institutions/individuals say/demand/ask/call upon - for the last four months international institutions appealed to the governmet to release activists. Today we saw that there is no justice - the final verdict is case in point.

Yes, we all were angered,frustrated, saddened and annoyed by the final sentence and I believe most of us still are. I knew nothing good was going to come out of this but having to witness all of this in real life was not easy.

But this is not an end, this is only the beginning. Don't forget "future is what we do know" and that "in order to change the society we must first change ourselves"!

Today at the end of the hearing, Emin said he is feeling proud and thats why he is ready to accept the verdict given to him. Though his speech was short, he called on the audience to use all means possible- internet (blogs, facebook, youtube); sms- to spread the reality of the situation in the country regarding freedom, justice and their case. Adnan, questioned how alleged witnesses will look into the eyes of their families- we will be done with our sentences but I wonder how they are going to live a life built on lies... He called on youth to continue changing themselves and working together for a better Azerbaijan. They both showed their strength to us, and so we must do the same in return!
For those who want to read more on the case/Emin/Adnan/Ol and AN see the following:
- follow #eminadnan on Tweeter;


Anonymous said...


On October 26 you wrote an article about hope. Let's look at what you've written about since. After setting himself up as president for life, Aliyev began oppressing Youth and Internet activists. On May 10, police arrested and abused several mourners, including a Dutch man and a 15 year old girl. The country tried to destroy civil society through constitutional amendments and is fomenting funadamentalism by closing mosques.

Then, at the low point in US-Azerbaijan relations, the US is abandoning its democracy work, abandoning the people like Emin and Adnan who are literally risking their lives, abandoning us when we need them most.

Finally we have this. Youth are under attack. Internet activists are under repression. We need help. We need hope. The people trying to make a difference are being put in prison and the West/US/USAID/International Community don't find us important enough to help.

So my question for you is, when is the next post about hope? Where is the hope? What is there?

Arzu Geybulla said...

Thank you for the comment.

I believe even now it is important to have hope. Its in all of us in bits and pieces. We must come together and unite these small bits before they shatter and totally disappear.

We need hope I agree. And so we must vest it in what we have now, and that is our friendship and unity. We might be small in numbers, but we are smart. We might not be high in government positions but we do have connections.

We have managed to get this far, I believe we can go further. All we need is belief in each other and that hope! All of this will be over sooner or later.

Today, I was skyping with a friend, and he told me to "remain strong and believe". So I am sticking with that for now...

Unknown said...

thx Arzu

Here is a petition addressed to the French Senator in charge of French-Azerbaijani friendchip. We ask him for a motion in Parliament against Azerbaijan. You just have to write your name in "votre nom (requis)" box

Here are some posts from bloggers and articles in media (and video),14-0,39-40875112@7-58,0.html,com_datsogallery/Itemid,30/func,viewcategory/catid,362/lang,az/

Liberty Chaser said...

Here is a blog post I wrote about it. Sorry, I'm still struggling with how to set it up so it's not open to everyone yet. But Flying Carpets was one of the blogs that inspired me.

Yesterday, Adnan Hajizade was sentenced to two years in prison. His compatriot, Emin ‘Milli’ Abdullayev, was given two and a half years in prison. Initially, the charge was hooliganism, then it was changed to assault. The real charge was that of being symbols, and leaders, and networkers, and behaving as if you have the right to say what you want.

The term bloggers doesn’t exactly apply to these two. Neither had a blog. Adnan was active with his youth movement OL!, an active citizen journalist, posting videos on YouTube, and in general, mobilizing youth. Adnan had a very clear philosophy about his activities. He always had room for differing opinions. His method was simply to encourage youth to care, and to take that caring and out it into action. He wasn’t fighting a political side, or an opposing personality. He was attacking indifference and cynicism.

Emin was a bit different. He worked less with youth and more with a middle aged group in his AN Network (originally it was Alumni Network, working only with Western educated alumni). Emin was largely an expat activist for the last year, sending his Facebook manifestos from New York. His comments were a bit more aggressive talking about a future day when the government will be changed and comparing Azerbaijan’s current state to that of dictatorships. He also did not have a blog.

It’s obvious that the case against them was fiction. But it’s also an exaggeration to call them detained bloggers. The truth is, they are symbols. They are symbols of mobilized youth, emerging from indifference and wanting to comment on the state of their nation. Their arrest is an attempt to frighten youth from banding together, pressure youth not to speak out, encourage youth to focus on fashion, clubbing, and cars and not on the economy, development, or freedom.

There is a lot of speculation if Adnan was arrested for the ‘donkey video’ or what Emin may have said on Facebook. But it’s not about what they said that got them in trouble; it’s that so many people listened.

An appeal will be made. We wish them a speedy release as a result.

Arzu Geybulla said...

Thank you for a great post "Liberty Chase"
I agree with many things you say in it and I think you should go ahead and publish it.
It is true that neither Adnan nor Emin are bloggers. It was decided to call them bloggers at a GHMH meeting (a movement to protect rights of youth). They didn't want to call them activists because that could have rank different bell so it was decided to call them both bloggers.
But the best part of your post is the following passage: "The truth is, they are symbols. They are symbols of mobilized youth, emerging from indifference and wanting to comment on the state of their nation. Their arrest is an attempt to frighten youth from banding together, pressure youth not to speak out, encourage youth to focus on fashion, clubbing, and cars and not on the economy, development, or freedom."
Thanks again for the comment/post and looking forward to reading more.

Arzu Geybulla said...

Hi Anonymous (the one who commented at the very end).
As much as I understand and share your anger, there is no need to curse, because thats not going to change anything. You have to remain calm, and think of what you can do to change whats happening right now.

No one said the path to democracy is going to be easy. Its going to be hard, frustrating and full of obstacles. And what then? Are you going to curse every time you face an obstacle? Of corse not! You will stick to your true intentions and do what it takes to be a good citizen of your country.

Once again, I share your anger, but you can channel it into something else. Go for a walk, meet up with you friends but most importantly think what you can do as an individual to make a difference.

Hope this post makes you feel tat bit better.

Anonymous said...

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Term Paper said...

Thanks for sharing. I really admire this. Nice blog. hope to see new updates from you soon.

Arzu Geybulla said...

Hi Term Paper,

Thank you for the comment.
Right now, both Emin and Adnan are going through the appeal court. Their lawyers object the way investigation was carried out and the way judges dealt with the verdict.
Next hearing is on March 3rd.
Will keep on posting.
Glad to hear you are enjoying this blog.

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