Friday, September 4, 2009

Trial of bloggers begins

So Azerbaijan begins its latest show trial today, as Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade face judgment for their crime of "hooliganism." It is tragic for the two young men, of course, but it is even more tragic for Azerbaijan as a whole, that its rulers can act contrary to common decency and even common sense with such impunity.

For the few readers who are unaware of the situation, Global Voices Online has a good summary, including tweeted updates here.

In Washington and in London, protesters have denounced the repressive policies of the Azerbaijan government. But - in Azerbaijan itself? What reaction will there be?

An Azerbaijani friend of mine wrote me today about the situation in his country. These are dark and dangerous times for people who are vocal in their support for democracy, he said. For people who just remain quiet, however, it is not so dangerous.

So - how long will the people of Azerbaijan remain quiescent? Until the oil runs out?

In a side note - I saw that the president of Turkmenistan has invited the president of Azerbaijan for visit. How nice! They can compare notes on repression. Maybe Ilham Aliyev can learn some new techniques.