New York, September 1, 2015--The Baku Court of Serious Crimes today convicted Khadija Ismayilova, one of Azerbaijan's most prominent investigative reporters, of illegal business, tax evasion, abuse of power, and embezzlement, and sentenced her to seven and a half years in prison, according to local press reports. The court dropped the charge of incitement to suicide, the reports said. A state prosecutor had requested a nine-year sentence during a closed hearing. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the verdict and sentence and calls on Azerbaijan to scrap them on appeal.
New York, August 21, 2015--A state prosecutor today called for Azerbaijani investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova to be sentenced to nine years in prison, according to pro-government news agency Trend. The request was made during a hearing in the Baku Court of Serious Crimes that was closed to independent journalists and rights activists, the regional press reported. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the trial and calls on Azerbaijan to drop all charges against Ismayilova.
New York, August 7, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Azerbaijani authorities to ensure due process in the trial against award-winning investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova. When Ismayilova appeared at Baku Court on Grave Crimes for the first substantive hearing in her case today, journalists, international observers, and the reporter's family were barred from entering the courtroom, according to press reports.
"First they asked if my parents had any guns or drugs in the apartment, then they showed my picture to my mother and asked her to identify me," Anna Andriyevskaya said. The Crimean journalist, who is living in exile in Kiev, was describing a raid on her parents' home by Russian FSB agents. "Any other mother would have probably suffered a heart attack if police asked them to ID their children," she said.
At least 14 journalists were injured and had their equipment damaged while they were covering a protest in the Armenian capital of Yerevan on June 23, 2015, according to local and international news reports. Several of the journalists were also briefly detained at a local police station, the independent news website Armenia Now reported.
Tomorrow 50 countries are due to take part in the opening ceremony of the inaugural European Games in Baku, but Azerbaijan's most prominent journalist, Khadija Ismayilova, will not be at the celebrations. The award-winning investigative reporter has been in jail since December on retaliatory charges over her writing on corruption.
Dear President Patrick Hickey: I am writing on behalf of the Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent international press freedom organization, to call your attention to the dismal climate for press freedom in Azerbaijan, which is scheduled to host the first-ever European Games on June 12.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.