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Bloggers Adnan Hajizada (left) and Emin Milli in court on December 22
An Azerbaijani court has postponed the hearing into an appeal by two bloggers jailed on what supporters say were politically motivated charges, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli were sentenced in November to two and 2 1/2 years 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 related to their criticism of the government.

At a brief hearing in Baku today, both men protested as their alleged victims, Babak Huseynov and Vusal Mammadov, did not appear in court.

The judge rescheduled the hearing for January 22.

Hajizada and Milli requested the men's presence at the hearing. The judge accepted their request and said Huseynov and Mammadov would be called to court to attend the next hearing scheduled for January 22.

International organizations and activists have called the charges against Hajizada and Milli politically motivated and the European Parliament last month called for their immediate release in a resolution critical of media freedom in Azerbaijan.

Both men are active in youth groups that have been highly critical of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

One group recently circulated a video of a press conference with an activist in a donkey suit that mocked government corruption.
Uzbekistan's Prosecutor-General's Office interrogated two independent journalists today in Tashkent, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

The prosecutor's office "invited" several journalists who have worked or currently work for foreign media outlets to come for meetings, including Basil Markov, Sid Yanishev, Marina Kozlova, and former RFE/RL correspondent Khusnitdin Kutbitdinov.

Yanishev and Kutbitdinov held their meetings today. Markov and Kozlova have said they will refuse to attend such a meeting unless they are ordered to do so.

Yanishev told RFE/RL that Bahram Nurmatov, the assistant to Tashkent's prosecutor-general, told him the interrogation was initiated after National Security Service and Foreign Ministry files on Yanishev's activities were sent to the prosecutor's office.

Yanishev said he was shown his file and was interrogated about his activities. He said he was questioned about which international conferences he had attended, foreign payments he received, and any contact with foreign embassies.

Yanishev said he was asked to sign an explanatory note at the end of the questioning. He said that no charges were officially brought against him.

Kutbitdinov told RFE/RL that Nurmatov told him there were reports that he had provided "discrediting information" to foreign websites using pseudonyms. Kutbitdinov said told Nurmatov he was unfamiliar with the pseudonyms and did not write any of the information that was shown to him.

Galima Bukharbaeva, an independent Uzbek journalist and editor of who lives in exile in Europe, told RFE/RL that the interrogation procedure at the prosecutor's office is a typical practice used by the Uzbek government to intimidate journalists in Uzbekistan.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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