Azerbaijan: Journalist Khadija Ismayilova Sentenced to Seven and a Half Years in Jail
Azerbaijan on September 1 sentenced investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova to seven and a half years in prison in what rights activists and the international media community have deemed an attempt to silence a free press in the South Caucasus country often described as a petro-dictatorship.
Baku’s Court for Grave Crimes found 39-year-old Ismayilova guilty of tax evasion, illegal business activity, embezzlement and abuse of power — the types of alleged crimes which, ironically, she herself investigated in covering senior government officials and the family of President Ilham Aliyev.
"It is not a coincidence that these charges were brought against me. After all, I have talked and written in detail about these very same crimes myself," Ismayilova said in her final statement, as published by Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty, one of her employers.
She was acquitted of an initial charge of allegedly attempting a former co-worker to attempt suicide. The individual, Tural Mustafayev, later retracted his accusation.
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