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Independent Azerbaijani journalist arrested

Khadija Ismayilova, an independent investigative journalist, was arrested today in Azerbaijan. Ms Ismayilova worked for a number of news outlets, including the independent channel Maydan TV and Radio Free Europe (Radio Azadliq). In 2008-2010 she was the editor-in-chief of the latter news organisation. In her reporting she covered cases of corruption and abuse of power which involved the family of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Alyiev.

Over the last months, a period marked by arrests of many human rights advocates, she was helping political prisoners and tried to compile a full list of the detained activists.

The reporter was jailed for two months pending her trial, in which she stands accused of “driving a man to suicide”. The charge is an absurd, and it is obvious that the purpose of detention is to punish her for her independent journalistic work and help provided to political prisoners,” Dominika Bychawska-Siniarska explains.

The arrest of the journalist is an element of the wide-ranging campaign of repression against the civic society. Among those detained in July and August were Leyla and Arif Yunus, Rasul Jafarov and the attorney Intigam Aliyev.

Several hours after the arrest of K. Ismayilova, Dunja Mijatovic, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, objected against the reporter’s detention.

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