Newly-released video blogger and netizen Adnan Hajizade has told Reporters Without Borders in an exclusive interview he is still finding it hard to assimilate the fact that he is “finally a free man” again but he intends to continue blogging because “every opinion counts.”
Interviewed on 25 November, he stressed the importance of international pressure in obtaining his release on 18 November (read the article). But he added that the real reason why he was freed and why he was arrested in the first place was still not clear to him.
A member of “OL! Youth Movement,” a non-political group, Hajizade and fellow blogger Emin Milli were arrested in Baku on 8 July 2009 after going to the police to report that they had been assaulted by two strangers in restaurant.
They were sentenced to 24 and 30 months in prison respectively on trumped-up charges of hooliganism because of their criticism of the authorities and their role in circulating a video making fun of political corruption. Milli was released on 19 November, one day after Hajizade.
Their release was one of the recommendations of a report entitled “Free Expression under Attack: Azerbaijan’s Deteriorating Media Environment” that Reporters Without Borders and nine other international free speech NGOs published after a joint visit to Azerbaijan in September.
See the video: