Renowned journalists and human rights activists Emin Milli and Khadija Ismayilova were detained in the capital city of Baku Jan. 26, during a peaceful protest against the police’s use of force against protesters in Ismayilli, a town in central Azerbaijan.
"Using tear gas and water cannons to break up the demonstration,":http://www.rferl.org/content/azerbaijan-baku-protests-clashes/24884428.html riot police confronted hundreds of protesters when they attempted to gather at the central Fountains Square. According to the Index on Censorship, about 100 people were thought to be detained and around 40 people subsequently arrested.
One of those arrested was Milli, a local writer and dissident who was imprisoned in 2009 for two and half years for his critiques of the government. He tweeted during the protest using the hashtag #ProtestBaku and afterwards writing: “I approached police at demo and asked them to join us! They were thinking for a while. Then Arrested me. Writing from police station.” Milli was assigned a prison sentence of 15 days on Jan. 27.
Ismayilova, a radio host for Radio Free Europe who reports on corruption of Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev, was also detained during the protests. She was awarded the International Women’s Media Foundation courage in journalism award in 2012. Ismayilova was released but fined 400 manats.
Milli is scheduled to speak at the Personal Democracy Forum in Poland Feb. 1, but will likely miss it due to his arrest. On Jan. 28, Milli tweeted: “From Prison: Emil Milli to #pdfpoland: “Every human being must enjoy freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. I am one of billions.”
By Kelly Moffitt.