In June, a group of Azeri bloggers posted a video in which a donkey holds a news conference before a circle of gravely nodding journalists. The video was a sly send-up of the government, which had been accused in the local media of paying exorbitantly to import donkeys.
Two of the group that created the video, Adnan Hajizada and Emin Milli, 30, were arrested in the last week of July in Baku, the Azeri capital, in an event their supporters say could signal the beginning of a crackdown on online media. Azeri authorities said the two physically attacked other men, though witnesses have challenged that.
After American and German diplomats expressed concern over the arrests, Azeri authorities released a terse statement describing the arrests as "an ordinary hooliganism case".
"Their blogs have no sympathizers, and arouse little interest, at least none that we have observed," said Ali Hassanov, a senior aide in Azerbaijan's presidential administration.
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