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by March 2, 2011
Dear Mr. President,
It was reported in media that you will probably meet with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev at the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September of this year. In anticipation of this meeting, we would like to bring to your attention the case of two imprisoned Azerbaijani bloggers Emin Milli (Abdullayev) and Adnan Hajizada, who are still held behind bars under falsified "hooliganism" charges, paying a high price for their civic activism and pro-democracy views.
As you may know, the July 8, 2009 attack on Hajizada and Milli and their subsequent arrest and imprisonment have been universally condemned by the international community. The US State Department and US Embassy in Baku expressed strong concerns about this issue and Secretary Clinton specifically raised the bloggers case at the meeting with President Ilham Aliyev during her recent visit to Baku on July 4th of this year.
Unfortunately, in spite of numerous high-level calls for their release, the Azerbaijani authorities conducted what has been deemed by the observers a sham trial, violating Azerbaijan's own laws and the country's international obligations, sentenced Adnan Hajizada for two and Emin Milli for two and half years and denied all the subsequent appeals.
We urge you to raise this issue in your discussions with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and call for the release of Hajizada and Milli. Your opinion, representing the principled position of the world's most powerful democracy, would be a strong voice in defense of free speech and fairness and play a crucial role in this case.
Dear Mr. President,
We wish success to you and your country in all your good beginnings and deeply value the leadership that the United States provides in promoting democracy and human rights around the world. Please remember these youth activists, punished solely for their aspirations to see their own country advance on the path of liberty and progress and join the community of free nations.
Hikmet Hajizada (Adnan’s father)
Leyla Karimli (Emin’s wife)
Baku, Azerbaijan, August 27, 2010
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