Ilkin Rustemzade arrested – for Harlem Shake video


Free Youth Organization activist Ilkin Rustemzade was arrested on May 17 and sent to pretrial detention for two months.
He is accused of hooliganism (Criminal Code articles 221.2.1 and 221.2.2) over a Harlem Shake video posted on YouTube. (Version 1 here, Version 2 here). He faces between 2 and 5 years of imprisonment if convicted. (Some sources report Rustemzade denies participation in the video.)

This arrest comes 2 days after he was released from a 15-day administrative detention sentence for participating in an unsanctioned memorial service on the four-year anniversary of the shooting at Azerbaijan State Oil Academy. [Previous AzTLDR]

Rustemzade has also been interrogated on multiple occasions in the past few months [Previous AzTLDR], as well as having served 6 days of administrative detention in early March [Previous AzTLDR] for being involved with planning a protest.


Rustemzade seemingly came from nowhere.  His Facebook profile lists him from being from Aghdam, but there is no confirmation of this. He seems to have gone to school in Baku however and is currently a university student.

Perhaps most interesting is that there is no record of his involvement with activism prior to January 2013. Reportedly in January he became involved in a Facebook comment discussion about the death of soldiers. A leader from the Dalgha youth movement posted a Facebook status asking what could be done about these deaths. Rustemzade then (possibly with others), organized a Facebook event that led to the January 12 protest. [Previous AzTLDR]

After the January protest event, Rustemzade became involved with the Azad Gənclik təşkilatı (Free Youth) movement.

(This pro-government news article from January describes Rustemzade as a Facebook celebrity.)


With a revolving door of administrative detentions, the government is obviously concerned about Rustemzade. Is it because his activism seems to have been enabled by social media? This may be the most unpredictable type of activist for the government to have to deal with. The arrest for involvement in a Harlem Shake video has a certain “we hate the Internet” feel to it.

Questions remain, however. Was Rustemzade involved in activism before January? Is he involved in any actions beyond the organization of the January 12 protest? Is he, as the government claims, an Internet celebrity with a large following? Is that part of what concerns the cheapest viagra government about him?


* Administrative detention is arrest and detention of individuals by the state without trial, usually for security reasons. A large number of countries, both democratic and undemocratic, resort to administrative detention as a means to combat terrorism, control illegal immigration, or to protect the ruling regime. (Wikipedia)

Youth activist Ilkin Rustamzade is arrested for two months. Contact. May 17, 2013.
Azeri Activist Charged With Hooliganism Over Internet Video. RFERL. May 17, 2013.
İlkin Rüstəmzadə həbs edildi. RFERL. May 17, 2013.
Gənc fəal İlkin Rüstəmzadə həbs olundu. RFERL. May 17, 2013.
“Harlem shake” videosuna görə gənc fəala 2 ay həbs cəzası kəsildi. RFERL. May 17, 2013.
İlkin Rüstəmzadə 2 ay müddətində həbs edildi. Musavat. May 17, 2013.generic viagra rx

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