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Azerbaijan: Reaction to Hajizade-Milli trial

hands_offSixty days after video bloggers Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli were arrested, and following the start of their trial last week, friends and supporters of the detained youth activists reflect on the case online. Their coverage is particularly important given that journalists attending Friday's court session were prohibited from recording the trial.

Therefore, in combination with news services such as RFE/RL, blogs and social networking sites have become particularly important in getting the message out from the oil rich authoritarian former Soviet republic. However, while the international community has expressed its concern with the action against the two men in no uncertain terms, Thoughts on the Road says the situation is very different in Azerbaijan itself.

Nevertheless, the blog notes, there are those who are alarmed by the direction the country appears to be heading in.

In Washington and in London, protesters have denounced the repressive policies of the Azerbaijan government. But – in Azerbaijan itself? What reaction will there be?

An Azerbaijani friend of mine wrote me today about the situation in his country. These are dark and dangerous times for people who are vocal in their support for democracy, he said. For people who just remain quiet, however, it is not so dangerous.

So – how long will the people of Azerbaijan remain quiescent? Until the oil runs out?

bloggers

Gənclərin Hüquqlarını Müdafiə Hərəkatı – Adnan Hacızadə və Emin Millinin məhkəməsindən FOTO!!! Exclusive by M.H. — Information on Emin Milli and Adnan Hadjizadeh

Fighting windmills? Take a pill. also comments on the same tendency within society to ignore or even rationalize the prosecution of Hajizade and Milli. In an extended entry, the blogger shares her impressions after attending Friday's court session and says that the two detained activists appear in good spirits.

Today I saw my friends sitting in a cage. Their hair were cut short, beards shaved, they lost weight and their eyes are more serious now.

[...]

We could notice how happy they were to see their friends and families and how nervous they felt about the process. Yes, they would still hope for the justice to happen, they would still count on the judge to make a right decision.

“You can’t imagine how good it is for studying!” said Emin. “No one disturbs you. You can read and study all day long. I need more books!”. Then he saw one of his closest friends Erkin and joked: “Oh, I wish you were there with us!”.

[...]

During the process they would answer all the questions loud and clear, they would ask permission to talk and tell how the story actually happened. They would be confident and clever, as they always are.

[...]

We left them there happy to see their families and disappointed about having to go back to the jail. We waited until the escort took them out and sent them off shouting their names and “Azadliq” (aze. Freedom), attracting attention of the whole neighborhood and the cars that were passing by.

We didn’t care about the police around or people watching us. We knew this made Emin and Adnan feel happy and not alone.

[...]

So, dear comforted Azerbaijan,

[...]

Do you care about two young people facing two years in prison for bringing up all this?

Will you ever wake up from your wealthy dream and finally see true colors of the country we live in or are your cars going to be the only things left after you’re gone?

[...]

Look around. See how many people support these two guys even though they don’t have any power or money. Isn’t this the real power of love, friendship, like-mindedness and unity our fathers would fight for?

Who will care about making you happy when you’re all alone?

See us.

Hear us.

Wake up, wake up, wake up.

Spread the Woord posts an essay by one of the detainees, AN Network founder Emin Milli. The ideas communicated in the opinion piece are rarely expressed in the region.

We have to understand that the world around us is changing. CHANGE is marching towards Azerbaijan from inside and outside. We have to understand that we have to change together with this world. [...] We need to change value structure of our society, we need to change the mentality of corruption, we need to change authoritarian thinking and attitudes in our families, in our organizations, in our society and in our state. [...] We need to give our people back their hope and their belief in the bright future our nation truly deserves.

The OL! blog carries full coverage of the prosecution of Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli, and a hashtag #EminAdnan is being used to flag updates on Twitter. Global Voices Online has also has coverage of the case on the Azerbaijan country page.

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