Azerbaijan bloggers' appeal denied
The Associated Press, Wednesday, March 10, 2010; 2:51 PM
BAKU, Azerbaijan -- A court in Azerbaijan has rejected the appeal of two bloggers who were sentenced to prison last year in a case that supporters say was politically motivated.
The bloggers are opposition activists in a country where independent media and opposition parties have faced persistent pressure. One was sentenced to two years in prison for hooliganism and the other to two-and-a-half years after a fight in a restaurant.
Their lawyer Isakhan Ashurov said after the appeal was rejected Wednesday that he would take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.
The United States condemned last year's convictions. Washington has courted Azerbaijan because of its oil riches and strategic location between Russia and Iran, but has repeatedly expressed concern over media rights and treatment of the opposition.