"Donkey" bloggers facing jail sentence in Azerbaijan

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Two Internet bloggers from Azerbaijan could be getting up to five years in prison after posting a video of a donkey giving a press conference on YouTube, a free video sharing website.

A map of former Soviet countries, with Azerbaijan in red.

Adnan Hajizade, 26 and Emin Milli, 29, posted the video on YouTube as a joke. It was in the country's native language, with English subtitles. The video depicts a man dressed in a donkey costume praising the benefits of living in Azerbaijan. It was also praising the positive attitude the country's government has towards its donkeys.

Azerbaijan's government was not amused by the video. After police scuffled with Hajizade and Milli in a restaurant in Baku, Azerbaijan's capital, both men were arrested. There was reportedly an assault on the pair, with nose injuries to Adnan and leg injuries to Emin. The authorities insist they are investigating a simple criminal case, but Isakhan Ashurov, the lawyer of the two 'criminals' claims that the arrests were politically motivated.

"This incident is definitely politically motivated. My clients did not beat anybody. Quite the opposite," stated Ashurov.


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