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PACE Official Demands Release Of Azerbaijani Bloggers

Bloggers Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli
Bloggers Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli
BAKU -- The special rapporteur on political prisoners for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has demanded the release of two Azerbaijani bloggers being held in a Baku jail, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Christoph Straesser, who is also the spokesman of the Social Democrat Party in the lower house of the German parliament, said his party is demanding "the unconditional release of Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizada, who did nothing but use their freedom of expression."

Straesser added that he will pay special attention to the arrest of civil society activists in his upcoming report on Azerbaijani political prisoners. He said the Baku government is "notorious in its harassment of journalists, bloggers, and opposition leaders."

Straesser said that by arresting two prominent youth activists who have a wide network of followers, even outside Azerbaijan, the government "only harms itself."

Milli and Hajizada were arrested on July 8 at an Internet café where they say they were beaten by two men in an unprovoked attack. Police released the two alleged attackers and arrested the activists instead.