Donkey Interviews Land Azerbaijan Satirists Jail Time
Two Azerbaijan satirists, Emin Milli and Adnan Hadjizadeh, received prison sentences of two and two and half years after they were "convicted" of hooliganism, CNN is reporting
The incident that led to the August arrest occurred after the satirists staged a mock interview with a donkey that was posted on Youtube and gained popularity on social media sties. Apparently, the inspiration for the Donkey Interview came after a government bureau reported that government purchased two cost prohibitive donkey's from Germany.
According to Human Rights Watch Milli and Hadjizadeh were in a Baku cafe when two strangers approached them, demanded that they stop discussing such matters, and attacked and injured them. Later that day Milli and Hajizade went to the police station, filed reports about the attack, and requested medical assistance.
"Instead of providing them with medical assistance, the police interrogated the youths for five hours without their lawyers, charged them with hooliganism, and set their alleged attackers free. Milli and Hajizade were not permitted access to their lawyers until late on the following day" according to a report from Human Rights Watch
"There is a longstanding pattern of Azerbaijani officials filing trumped-up charges against journalists to punish them for critical or satirical comment," said Giorgi Gogia, South Caucasus researcher at Human Rights Watch. "The case against Milli and Hajizade falls squarely in that pattern."