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Azerbaijan: News under Lock and Key, Streets under Watch

Azerbaijan has fallen into a maelstrom of international criticism after extending the prison term of one controversially jailed newspaper editor and keeping two bloggers/youth activists in prison on alleged "hooliganism" charges. Now, plans to set up a video street surveillance system could bring Baku further scrutiny.


The system, to be set up wherever large numbers of people congregate, is allegedly designed to protect all and sundry from "illegal activities" and to ensure a "fast reaction to emergency situations."

Police, though, appear to have little trouble with making arrests as it is.

A handful of youth activists, who came to protest in front of the presidential administration building on July 8, the one-year anniversary of bloggers Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli’s detention, was promptly scooped up and shipped off in police cars, Mediaforum.az reported.


Embassies and rights groups have been taking turns to demand the release of Hajizade and Milli, along with newspaper editor Eynulla Fatullayev. Critics view the arrests as an attempt to keep new media from turning into a fresh outlet for criticism of the government. Among others, Norway, the US and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have all called on Azerbaijan to release the three men, but, so far, in vain.

Azerbaijan: News under Lock and Key, Streets under Watch

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