Freedom House Condemns Disgusting Attacks Against Journalist in Azerbaijan

Khadija Ismayilova, a renowned Azerbaijani investigative journalist and an RFE/RL reporter, has been targeted in another vicious rhetorical attack in the state-run media. Ismayilova, who has been investigating allegations of unethical business dealings of President Ilham Aliyev and questioning the sources of Azerbaijan’s ruling family assets, has been blackmailed and defamed a number of times over the past year, including twice this week.

In an article entitled  "Khadija's Armenian Mother Should Die" published by the government-aligned newspaper SES on August 26, Ismayilova’s sister is accused of running a sex trafficking business, while her mother is falsely called Armenian; both women were accused of appearing in a pornographic film. The article also identified the Baku district where Ismayilova’s relatives live. After the publication drew sharp criticism from the United States Embassy in Baku, SES came back on August 29 with a new attack in a piece called "What the U.S. can do for Khadija.” The article directly points at Ismayilova’s investigative work and shames her into being “tolerant of criticism;” it further alleges that the U.S. abused women and children in Palestine, Egypt and Syria, and calls on the U.S. to “take Khadija,” because “she is Armenian anyway.”

Freedom House deplores the disgusting and spurious charges by the government of Azerbaijan to try to discredit a brave, independent voice.

Learn more:

Freedom in the World 2013: Azerbaijan

Freedom on the Net 2012: Azerbaijan

Freedom of the Press 2013: Azerbaijan

Nations in Transit 2013: Azerbaijan

Blog: Freedom at Issue