On May 17, 2013, Azerbaijani youth activist Ilkin Rustemzade was arrested on charges of hooliganism for his alleged involvement in at Harlem Shake video  filmed in the country’s capital city, Baku. The video, which was uploaded to YouTube more than two months before his arrest, is completely apolitical, and Rustemzade does not even appear on-screen. The government claims that he helped film it, though his lawyer denies he was involved at all.

Others who have made Harlem Shake videos in Baku—including members of a pro-government youth movement—have not been punished. The real reason Rustemzade has been targeted is because of his online activism and his criticism of the government as part of the Free Youth Organization. Rustemzade has already been sentenced to two months of pre-trial detention, and he faces up to five years in jail if convicted of the hooliganism charges.

Just two days before his arrest in connection with the video, Rustemzade was released after serving 15 days of administrative detention. He had been arrested forgathering peacefully to commemorate victims on the anniversary of the 2009 shooting at the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy. Rustemzade also served six days of administrative detention in March for organizing a protest calling attention to the deaths of soldiers in non-combat situations.

ON TWITTER

MeydanTV
MeydanTV Jurnalistlər niyə öldürülür?: youtu.be/X6Cg_wcI3Hc?a via @YouTube
03:54PM Oct 17
Rachel_Denber
Rachel_Denber No, the radical populist threat to European values has not gone away, explains #HRW 's @Kartik__Raj . twitter.com/Kartik__Raj/status/920311066634137601
03:51PM Oct 17
arzugeybulla
arzugeybulla court in Baku rejects travel request by investigative journalist @Khadija_Ismayil #pressfreedom #Azerbaijan
02:21PM Oct 17
rebecca_vincent
rebecca_vincent Horrific murder of a courageous journalist who worked tirelessly to expose corruption. Rest in power. www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/16/malta-car-bomb-kills-panama-papers-journalist #EndImpunity
09:39PM Oct 16
nhc_no
nhc_no Tid for telling ved valglokaler i Kirgisistan. Vinner av presidentvalget foreløpig vanskelig å si, noe som er svært uvanlig i Sentral-Asia.
02:21PM Oct 15