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 2017-ci il Məmmədovlara düşərli olmadı: youtu.be/QPaOBDlKG60?a via @YouTube
02:40PM Dec 13
nhc_no
nhc_no Thank you for supporting #FreeKhayrullo ambassador! Please raise concern with #Tajikistan authorities over what appear to be politically motivated charges. #Whistleblowers @hrw @pressfreedom @RSF_EECA @IPHR
01:04PM Dec 13
arzugeybulla
arzugeybulla exciting news this AM. Together with @TurkeyBlocks we will be discussing technology, #humanrights and freedoms in #Turkey and #Azerbaijan at the upcoming #internetFF thank you team IFF for giving us a place and chance to speak.
07:40AM Dec 13
Rachel_Denber
Rachel_Denber Ukraine's parliament should withdraw this law before it goes any farther. It's a blatant violation of free speech. twitter.com/halyapuff/status/940615366430117889
07:19PM Dec 12
rebecca_vincent
rebecca_vincent With some of our fantastic RSF UK board members at the #BritishJournalismAwards tonight. Quite a team! pic.twitter.com/0OU3q3PWfb
12:27AM Dec 12