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Jailed 'Donkey Bloggers' Vow They'll Pursue European Appeal




WATCH: From behind bars at their appeal today, Emin Milli called it "our duty" to take the case to the European rights court in Strasbourg. (Video by RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service)

Two jailed Azerbaijani bloggers say they hold out no hope of a successful appeal and want to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

It's a case that has rankled local and international rights groups and sparked increased tensions between Baku and Western governments.

Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli were responding to RFE/RL questions from the dock during a December 22 appearance in a Baku appellate court.

Hajizada said they don't expect "anything" from their appeal, which was postponed to January 8.

Milli added that there is "no bigger honor than...to fight for your ideas and values." He said the two bloggers think it is their "duty" to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Hajizada and Milli said they are both healthy and have no complaints about their treatment in prison.

The court denied a request today for the bloggers to be released on bail.

Hajizada and Milli were sentenced last month to two and 2 1/2 years, respectively, in jail on hooliganism charges after a scuffle at a restaurant during the summer.

Both maintain that they were attacked in the restaurant in a politically motivated provocation in retribution for criticizing the government.

The European Parliament last week called for their immediate release in a resolution critical of what it called the deterioration of media freedom in Azerbaijan.

International human rights organizations have called the charges against the two men politically motivated.

Both men are active in groups that have been highly critical of the administration of President Ilham Aliyev, including a video circulated by Internet in which an activist in a donkey costume conducts a mock press conference.

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