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Azerbaijan Supreme Court Upholds Bloggers' Sentences

Bloggers Emin Milli (left) and Adnan Hajizada
Bloggers Emin Milli (left) and Adnan Hajizada
BAKU -- Azerbaijan's Supreme Court has upheld the November 2009 sentences given to jailed bloggers Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizada, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Hajizada and Milli were arrested in July 2009 and sentenced to 2 and 2 1/2 years in prison, respectively, on hooliganism charges. Human rights organizations and Western governments have said the charges are politically motivated.

The sentences had previously been upheld by an appeals court.

Lawyers for the two men demanded that the Supreme Court annul the appeals court ruling and bring charges against the police and the Sabail district court judge for "illegal arrest" and "violation of judiciary procedures" during the bloggers' trial.

Prosecutor Mehbali Qurbanov criticized the defense for allegedly politicizing the case.

Hajizada's father, Hikmet Hajizada, told RFE/RL the case was fabricated from the start for political reasons. The two bloggers had often criticized and satirized government policies.

"It is a political case," Hikmet Hajizada said. "Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizada are political prisoners."

"We did not expect any other decision from the Supreme Court," lawyer Elton Guliyev told RFE/RL. "It issued another shameful decision." He said the bloggers' lawyers will take the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.