Authorities in Azerbaijan took steps December 5 to muzzle Khadija Ismayilova, an investigative journalist who is the country’s most vocal government critic. A Baku court granted a motion to hold Ismayilova in jail pending a criminal trial, while her Facebook page mysteriously went dark.
Observers say the criminal charges against Ismayilova are politically motivated and her detention is widely seen as connected with an ongoing government crackdown on all forms of dissent. The ruling by the Sabail District court in Baku allows for Ismayilova to be held for two months. In the case, she is accused of goading another journalist to commit suicide.
“The arrest of Ismayilova is nothing but orchestrated intimidation, which is a part of the ongoing campaign aimed at silencing her free and critical voice,” Dunja Mijatović, the OSCE’s Representative on Freedom of the Media, said in a written statement.
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Justin Burke is the Managing Editor of EurasiaNet.