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Azerbaijan Chides Germany, Norway Over Bloggers Case

Azerbaijani bloggers Emin Milli (left) and Adnan Hajizada in custody outside the courtroom last week
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry has accused Germany and Norway of interference in Baku's internal affairs, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

The charge d'affaires at the Norwegian and German embassies in Baku, Lars Hansen and Peter Zigler respectively, were called to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry on November 16 to discuss criticism on November 11-12 by Oslo and Berlin of Azerbaijan's prosecutions of opposition bloggers Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli.

Deputy Foreign Minister Vagif Sadygov said the criticism from the two countries is "baseless, unacceptable and is below the level of Azerbaijan's relations with other countries."

Sadygov said the trial of the two bloggers complied with Azerbaijani law and was transparent.

A Baku court on November 11 sentenced Hajizada to two years and Milli to 2 1/2 years in prison on hooliganism charges for an altercation at a Baku restaurant on July 8.

International organizations such as the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have strongly condemned the case and said the charges against the bloggers are politically motivated.

Meanwhile, 34 members of the Norwegian-based Human Rights House Network sent a letter to Azerbaijani officials on November 16 condemning what they say is an "unfair sentence" for the bloggers and calling on them to protect democratic values and the right to free speech.