by John de Dios
Under his blog name of Emin Milli, Emin Abdullayev of Azerbaijan embodies how online social media
are changing political protest and challenging oppression around the globe.
Milli will discuss blogging as activism in Azerbaijan on Thursday, Oct. 13, at 11 a.m. in Chavez 111. A Q&A will follow at the end of the free talk, entitled “Blogging in Baku.”
In 2009, he and colleague Adnan Hajizade were beaten and arrested in the Azeri capital of Baku and
imprisoned for 30 months on trumped-up charges of “hooliganism.” Supporters charged they were
political prisoners whose arrest actually resulted from their satirical blog critiques of the Azerbaijan
The offending blog post featured a video in which Azeri “journalists” interview a man a “donkey” (an
actor in a donkey suit) suit about his visit from Germany. The video satirized the Azeri government’s
purchase of donkeys from that country. The video can be viewed here.
The case became an international cause célèbre that further demonstrated the power of the Internet in the
global struggle for human rights.
Abdullayev’s credentials extend beyond publishing a blog: The 32-year-old graduate of Baku State
University International law school holds a diploma from the University of Saarbrucken European Law
School. He has worked as a coordinator for the International Republican Institute (IRI) in Azerbaijan
and as a director of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) in Azerbaijan.
He also advised the Council of Europe on legal matters concerning political prisoners in Azerbaijan
in more than 40 cases and served as a political analyst in the 2005 Election Observation Mission in
Azerbaijan. He describes himself now as an activist, a blogger, and a freelance translator.
Reporters Without Borders, a global press freedom watchdog organization, was among international
groups that protested the proceedings against Azerbaijan. You can see its coverage of his trial and
letter condemning the charges as baseless violations of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Contact Professor Linda Lumsden in the School of Journalism for more information.
~ Media Release