Azerbaijan: Khadija Ismayilova remains in jail but Council of Europe takes exceptional step

December 18, 2015

While there has been a small let up in the incarceration of human rights defenders in Azerbaijan [see e.g.], it remains the worst place in Europe for human rights defenders. On 25 November the appeal lodged by investigative journalist and human rights defender Khadija Ismayilova was dismissed. She has to remain in jail for 7.5 years!

[Ms. Ismayilova was arrested on December 5, 2014 on charges of “inciting” her ex-partner “to commit suicide”. Although in April 2015 the alleged victim retreated his accusations, claiming his testimony was given under pressure, blackmail and torture, the prosecution did not take it into account and maintained the charges. In February 2015, Ms. Ismayilova was further accused of embezzlement, illegal entrepreneurship, tax evasion and abuse of office. During the hearings in first instance, no evidence of these accusations was presented.On September 1, 2015, the Baku Court of Grave Crimes had sentenced Ms. Khadija Ismayilova to 7,5 years imprisonment on charges of “embezzlement”, “illegal entrepreneurship”, “tax evasion”, and “abuse of office].

As an independent reporter and journalist of the Azerbaijani radio Azadliq (“Radio Freedom”) she has shown great courage (see:, and received several international prizes, such as the 2015 Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism (HRW), the 2015 Freedom to Write Award, the 2012 Fritt Ord/Zeit Press Prize, and the 2012 Courage of Journalism Award by the Washington-based International Women’s Media Foundation. 

An exceptional investigation into Azerbaijan’s compliance with its commitments under the European Convention on Human Rights, has been launched on 16 December by Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland. Under Article 52 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the Secretary General can launch an inquiry to find out how the domestic law in any member state makes sure that the convention is properly implemented. Inquiries under Article 52 are extremely rare. It is the first time Secretary General Jagland has used this measure.



Azerbaijan: Appeal dismissed: Investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova to remain in jail for 7.5 years / November 30, 2015 / Urgent Interventions / Human rights defenders / OMCT

3 Responses to “Azerbaijan: Khadija Ismayilova remains in jail but Council of Europe takes exceptional step”

  1. […] Pejic, Radio Free Europe editor in chief. “But Khadija should have been among them”. […] In recent correspondence with RFE/RL, international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who will […]

  2. […] Wednesday 25 May 2016 Azerbaijan finally released investigative journalist Khadijah Ismayilova [… after a number of other human rights defenders were released bit by bit over the last […]

  3. […] [see also:…] […]

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