Prominent Azerbaijani Journalist Released from Prison

Washington

In response to the decision of the Supreme Court of Baku releasing the prominent investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova on three-and-a-half-year probation, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“We are pleased for Khadija and her family and glad they can finally be reunited,” said Mark P. Lagon, president of Freedom House. “The government of Azerbaijan should drop all charges against her. Many other political prisoners remain behind bars, including journalist Seymur Hazi, blogger Ilkin Rustamzada, political activist Ilgar Mammadov, all of whom should be immediately freed, if the government’s commitment to human rights is genuine.”

Background:
Khadija Ismayilova is a reporter for Radio Azadliq (the Azerbaijani service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) and member of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. She gained notice for investigating allegations of corruption against President Aliyev’s family. Arrested in December 2014 on accusations of inciting another person’s suicide, she was sentenced in September 2015 to seven-and-a-half years imprisonment after being convicted on spurious charges including tax evasion and embezzlement.

On the day of her release the government of Azerbaijan arrested journalist Elnur Mukhtar and youth activist Amid Suleymanov.

Some of Ismayilova's high-profile investigative articles include: 

Azerbaijan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2015, and receives a democracy score of 6.86 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2016.

To learn more about Azerbaijan, read our Fact Sheet

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