Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Donkeys, Azerbaijan and Freedom of Expression (or lack thereof)

More than two months ago, this video showed up on youtube. Not long after it was released, two bloggers in Azerbaijan were jailed on hooliganism charges after they were beaten up in a restaurant.

The bloggers say they were having dinner with friends when two thugs walked in and started a fight. When the two bloggers went to the police to report the attack -- the bloggers, themselves, were arrested -- and have remained in jail ever since.

Their lawyer says the arrests are politically motivated. Azeri authorities deny that claim -- saying they're investigating a criminal case.

In this video, with subtitles, the donkey goes on about the benefits of living in Azerbaijan and praises the government for its kind treatment of donkeys.

Many people say the video represents a typical government news conference.

The Azeri Government is taking this matter very seriously -- the two bloggers face up to five years in prison.

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