The Point of No Return

Two days ago I was hanging out at the roof party hosted by our friend, drinking wine, chatting with my friends, enjoying weather and life in general. "I love Baku in summer", I said. And really felt happy about living in this city once, for a long time. Today everything seems different. Weather is annoying, trees are too green, people are meaningless and two close friends of mine are beaten up, detained and pressed charges in something so obviously set up.

Seven hours in front of the police stations, three hours of sleep hugging laptop and anger, screaming inside of me.

They were having dinner in one of the downtown cafes - 7 youth activistivists, talking about life, ideas and plans. Two sporty guys entered the cafe, sat near them, ordered drinks but didn't even touch them.

Some time later they came up to Adnan (OL! Youth Movement) and Emin (AN Network) cursing them. According to Emin, he didn't even have a chance to say something back - the fight started. No, not the fight - the beating. Two sporty (obviosuly professionals) guys beat Emin and Adnan while others tried to interfere and failed.

Adnan - broken nose, minor injuries. Emin - cut foot, bruses on the face, minor injuries.

They went to the police station to open the case and write explanation. Police would fool them around for 7 hours during which Emin was asking us to go home, saying it's okay and they'll be out soon. Especially, taking that the sportsmen were already set free.

Their friends and parents, attorney, journalists, everyone was downstairs waiting for them to come out. Untill, Adnan called to say he's been pressed charges and to be detained for 48 hours untill the trial. Emin refused to leave without him and was detained as well.

We saw them leaving the building, beaten and handcuffed, placed in the police car to be taken to the jail. This was the moment when Adnan's father came a bit closer to the car and said loud and clear: "Adnan, mohkem ol!" (Adnan, be strong!). And us? We were applauding. Realising how badly it can end we were applauding, cheering the heroes the system has created itself. By the stupidity and injustice of its actions.

Today there was a meeting in support of Adnan Hajizadeh and Emin Milli with representatives of all the embassies, international organizations, Human Rights attorneys, politicians, journalists, youth activists. Everyone was there, making statements and speeches, signing petitions.

"We will not give up!" said Adnan's father. "They've been beating and fighting us for 20 years, now they're fighting our children. But they'll not be alone in this battle, we're standing behind them" said Isa Gambar, Secretary General of Musavat party.

Couple of hours before the spokesperson of the Ministry of Internal Affairs made a statement saying Adnan and Emin were the ones to beat up poor sportsmen. And where are the sportsmen? Released with no charges.

The court hearing will take place tomorrow.

Hearing similar stories about injustices in Turkmenistan from a friend of mine four years ago, I would get shocked. Today I'm living my worst nightmares, fighting for the freedom of two of the best Azerbaijanis, I'm proud to be friends with.

I'm exhausted, worried and angry. Ask me if I love Baku in summer now.

We will not surrender. God help us.