The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, today condemned the sentencing of Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova.
“The charges brought against Ismayilova, and the trial, are unjust; they constitute yet another clear signal that the authorities are continuing to silence critical voices in Azerbaijan,” Mijatović said. “I reiterate my call on the government in Azerbaijan to stop targeting journalists.”
“Khadija Ismayilova pays for her courageous work as investigative journalist in a country where critical voices are muzzled one after the other. This sentence strikes yet another blow to respect for human rights and adherence to democracy and the rule of law in Azerbaijan,” Muižnieks said.
A Baku court today sentenced Ismayilova, an investigative reporter with Radio Azadliq (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty), to 7.5 years in prison on charges misappropriation and embezzlement, illegal business dealings, tax evasion and abuse of power.
Last week Mijatović wrote a letter to the authorities in Azerbaijan, requesting their assistance in organizing a visit to Baku in order to be present at the concluding session of Ismayilova’s trial. Her letter was left unanswered.