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OSCE Representative and Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights condemn sentencing of journalist Khadija Ismayilova in Azerbaijan

Statement
Strasbourg/Vienna 01 September 2015
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Khadija Ismayilova, journalist with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Khadija Ismayilova, journalist with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, 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.

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on www.facebook.com/osce.rfom.

Contact for Council of Europe:
Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights
Stefano Montanari
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex
FRANCE

+ 33 (0)3 88 41 35 38 / +33 (0)6 61 14 70 37
+ 33 (0)3 90 21 50 53
stefano.montanari [at] coe.int