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Jailed Azerbaijani Bloggers' Appeal Rejected

Jailed activists Emin Milli (left) and Adnan Hajizada

Jailed activists Emin Milli (left) and Adnan Hajizada

The Baku appeals court has upheld the prison sentences handed down last November to bloggers Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Hajizada's lawyer, Isaxan Asurov, told RFE/RL that the decision is "unfair, illegal, and biased."

The two men became famous for posting satirical comments on the Internet about the political situation in Azerbaijan. In one such posting, a donkey tells journalists how well the government treats donkeys.

The two bloggers were detained last July after a scuffle at a restaurant. They said they were victims of an unprovoked attack, but police charged them with hooliganism and inflicting minor bodily harm.

A Baku district court found them guilty in November and sentenced Hajizada to two and Milli to 2 1/2 years in prison. Their lawyers appealed those sentences, questioning the fairness of the preliminary investigation and the trial.

The appeal process started in December and was postponed several times due to the absence of either lawyers or witnesses, heavy snowfall, or insufficient time to become familiarized with the investigation materials.

International human rights organizations and politicians from several Western governments have criticized the jailing of the bloggers.