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Baku Court Rejects Appeals By Jailed Bloggers

Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli
Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli
BAKU -- A Baku court has rejected appeals by jailed bloggers Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli and ruled that they will remain in detention, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

In their appeals, Hajizada and Milli's lawyers questioned the court's decision to keep the journalists in pretrial detention for two months.

Lawyer Elton Guliyev called the decision by the court "absolutely illegal" and said they will take the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The two bloggers have been charged with hooliganism and face up to five years in prison if found guilty.

The appeal was rejected on the same day that the European Union "troika" -- led by Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt -- discussed the case with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Last week, international media watchdog Reporters Without Borders wrote a letter to the Azerbaijani Justice Ministry calling for the bloggers to be released.

Hajizada, a video blogger and member of the OL! opposition movement, was arrested with activist Emin Milli at a cafe in Baku on July 8.

Their defense team says they were beaten by two men in an unprovoked attack.

Rights groups say the charges were fabricated to punish the activists -- who post their work on the social-networking website Facebook -- for their criticism of the government.