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Testimony Given At Trial Of Azerbaijani Bloggers


Youth activists Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade behind bars in Baku

Youth activists Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade behind bars in Baku

A hearing in the trial of two jailed Azerbaijani bloggers accused of "hooliganism and infliction of minor damage" went into its third day, with representatives from international organizations and foreign journalists observing the process, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reported.

Bloggers Emin Milli, 30, and Adnan Hajizada, 26, were detained on July 8 after they were confronted in a restaurant and a scuffle ensued.

The bloggers reject the charges, saying they are politically motivated.

Babek Huseynov, one of the men involved in the incident at the restaurant, testified that he collapsed when he was pushed by Hajizada and that his nose was hurt in the fall.

Huseynov, who filed a complaint with the police, said he wrote "what the police told me" when he was asked what he wrote in his complaint.

The court rejected a complaint from the bloggers' parents against officials who have refused to allow them to visit their sons in detention. The parents said they would appeal the court's decision.

At the first hearing, on September 4, the court rejected a request for the conditional release of the bloggers as well as a defense lawyers' request for an additional investigation into the charges.

Video recordings of the scene of the incident by security cameras and the mobile phones of witnesses were also rejected by the judge.

Six of the bloggers' supporters were detained at the second trial on September 16 because they were wearing T-shirts that said "I am also a hooligan."

On September 15, Reporters Without Borders urged Judge Araz Huseynov to heed the calls by various human rights organizations and governments for the bloggers to be released.

"We reiterate our call for the release of Hajizada and Milli," the group said. "They were arrested for political reasons and the charges brought against them are clearly baseless."

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