Politics 12:30 02/09/2015

Int’l response: Verdict against Khadija Ismayilova is Azerbaijan authorities’ revenge against critics

International watchdog Reporters Without Borders issued a statement saying it is appalled by the sentence of seven and a half years in prison that a Baku court passed on leading investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova.

“Khadija Ismayilova’s long jail sentence is unfortunately no surprise because the Azerbaijani judicial system’s function seems to be to provide state repression with a veneer of legality,” said Johann Bihr, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk. “Ismayilova’s only crime was to investigate high-level government corruption with courage and persistence. This trial sends a very powerful intimidatory message to all her fellow journalists in Azerbaijan.”

Reporters Without Borders called for the immediate and unconditional release of Ismayilova and the 11 other journalists and bloggers held in Azerbaijan in connection with their reporting, and urged Baku’s international partners to raise her case in all bilateral talks.

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe ThorbjørnJagland also condemned  the verdict in the case of Khadija Ismayilova. “As he has done regarding the convictions of Leyla and ArifYunus, Secretary General Jagland will request from the Azerbaijani authorities the full details of the judgment and the evidence presented against Khadija Ismayilova,” his spokesperson said in a statement. “The Council of Europe reiterates its concerns about the systemic deficiencies in the Azerbaijani judicial system and the worrying trend of increasing cases against human rights defenders and journalists, which has a chilling effect on freedom of expression in the country.”

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, DunjaMijatović, and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, came up with a joint statement. “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. “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 added.

UK Minister for Europe, David Lidington, said  he is deeply troubled by the Azerbaijani journalist’s arrest. “I’m concerned by reports regarding the conduct of the trial and urge the Azerbaijani authorities to review her case in a transparent and fair manner,” he stressed.

Human Right Watch urged  the Azerbaijani authorities to “immediately move to set aside the conviction” and release her. “The outrageous verdict against Khadija Ismayilova shows the Azerbaijani authorities’ willingness to subvert the law to exact revenge against critics,” said HRW executive director Kenneth Roth.

The European Union and its member states in particular should mount a strong, unified response to the appalling state of human rights in Azerbaijan. Such a response should include freezing negotiations on a new Strategic Partnership Agreement with Baku and taking action in other multilateral bodies, including the UN Human Rights Council, to censor Azerbaijan over its atrocious human rights record. The voting rights of the Azerbaijani delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe should be suspended, HRW said.

The Sport for Rights coalition released a statement  strongly condemning the verdict handed to Khadija Ismayilova calling it an “outrageous” ending to the “grotesque proceedings” against her. The coalition called on the internationalcommunity to take up all the possible measures to release Ismayilova. Sport for Rights believes that in jailing Ismayilova, the Azerbaijani authorities sought to silence her critical voice before the country faced increased international media attention during the inaugural European Games.
“We demand that the government cease this unprecedented witch-hunt against journalists and their family members,” says the statement signed by over 20 human rights organizations, including Article 19, Civil Rights Defenders, CPJ, Front Line Defenders, HRHF, Freedom Now, Index oncensorship, FIDH, International Media Support and others.

Thomas Hughes, executive director of ARTICLE 19, recalled that prior to her arrest, Ismayilova had stated she did not want any quiet diplomacy on her behalf. “Similar to other Azerbaijani political prisoners, comprising of other journalists, human rights defenders, lawyers and activists, Khadija has been handed down a lengthy sentence on politically motivated charges, the sole aim of which appears to be restricting legitimate criticism of authorities,” he said. Hughes believes such stifling of freedom of expression is unacceptable, and should not be tolerated by those engaging with Azerbaijan.

“This was yet another unfair trial relying on fabricated charges. The government has stepped up its brutal crackdown on political activists, journalists, human rights defenders - indeed anyone who dares to publicly raise a critical voice,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia.

CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova stated  Khadija Ismayilova's trial was a farce, yet the consequences for her, and for all Azerbaijani journalists, are “gravely serious.” Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Baku's international partners to stop turning a blind eye to the country's human rights abuses.

“The message is clear — no homegrown defiance of President Aliyev's authority will be tolerated. Nor will the government consider Western exhortations to stop harassment of government critics,” Eurasianet.org writes.

According to BBC , Khadija Ismayilova has made life difficult for the Azerbaijani government for years,as one of Azerbaijan's best-known journalists.

Turan agency writes that Ismayilova’s relatives are not surprised at the verdict. Elmira Ismayilova, the journalist’s mother, said after the trial that she was calm for daughter and proud of her. “Khadija listened to the verdict very firmly and with a smile on her face, as always. Shesaid, go and tell everyone, ‘I am strong, I will survive everything. People fighting for a true case can stand deprivations and punishment.’ Khadija sent her love to her supporters,” she said.

Elmira Ismayilova believes the government of Azerbaijan is afraid of her daughter and that is the reason they sent her into prison, yet it is impossible to silence her. “She will continue speaking and writing. She is a fighter and she calls on everybody not to be afraid and go to struggle. What can I say to the government that sentenced Khadija for investigating their businesses? Just one thing: either correct yourselves or leave,” the journalist’s mother said.

Ismayilova's defense lawyer FarizNamazly told Reuters  she planned to appeal against the verdict. "The sentencing is not justified and has been pre-ordered," he said.

On 1 September 2015, Baku Court of Grave Crimes handed down a 7.6 years prison sentence to the Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova. The court found her guilty of the Articles 179 (embezzlement and misappropriation), 192 (illegal business), 213 (tax evasion) and 308 (abuse of power) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. Meanwhile, Ismayilova was cleared from the article 125 (incitement to commit suicide) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. Earlier, the public prosecutor, RamazanHadiyev, had claimed 9 years of imprisonment for Khadija Ismayilova.

Related:
Khadija Ismayilova sentenced to 7.6 years in prison for unmasking IlhamAliyev’s personal business 
Azerbaijan: The more HR defenders behind bars, the easier to stage “democratic” elections 



Source Panorama.am
Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:

Newsfeed

20:21
New postcard dedicated to the theme “Council of Europe” cancelled in Yerevan
A two-sided postcard with 1 stamp dedicated to the theme “Council of Europe” has been cancelled and put into circulation by...
19:51
Donald Trump calls London mayor a 'disaster'
US President Donald Trump has once again criticised London Mayor Sadiq Khan, calling him a "national disgrace" who is destroying the...
19:16
Greece threatens Turkey with EU sanctions
Greece and Cyprus will push their EU partners to penalize Turkey, including the possible option of sanctions, if Ankara is verified to have...
18:52
Armenian version of the book about Chess Champion Tigran Petrosian presented in Yerevan
The presentation of the Armenian version of the book “The Games of Thrones. How to Win in Chess” about Armenian grandmaster, the...
18:28
Risk of fires high across Armenia, MES warns
Armenia’s ministry of emergency situations reports that the amount of fires has increased 6 times in the first half of June of the current...
17:25
Symbolic protest held in front of the President’s Office ‘to remind president of his constitutional duties’
Activists of Civil Consciousness NGO and AntiFake.am fact checking initiative are holding a protest at Baghramyan 26, in front of the...
16:52
Second torch lit in Khor Virap for the 7th Pan-Armenian Games
The second torch lighting ceremony for the 7th Pan-Armenian Games took place at Khor Virap monastery located on the hills of Ararat province in...
16:04
PM Pashinyan congratulates Iceland Premier on country’s national holiday
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has sent a congratulatory message to Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir on the National...
15:35
Armenia-CoE Partnership Action Plan for 2019-2022 officially launched
The Council of Europe (CoE) 2019-2022 Action Plan for Armenia was officially launched on Monday at the ministry of foreign affairs in Yerevan....
14:57
Four Armenians injured in a road accident in Russian Stavropol region
Four Armenians were injured as a result of a traffic accident in Russian Stavropol region, Armenia’s ministry of emergency situations...
14:33
The country of Parajanov in need of modern model of cinematography - Piotr Świtalsky
The European Union is set to assist Armenia in developing its cinematography, the Head of the EU delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr...
13:49
Artsakh Defense Army launches command and staff exercises
Artsakh defense army commenced on Monday command and staff exercises with involvement of number of military units forces. The exercises are...
13:02
Deputy minister names the cancelation of friendship declarations between French, Artsakh cities as ‘private demarche’
“France continues remaining as a protector of human rights, solidarity and suppressed nations,” Armenia’s deputy foreign...
11:52
Honored Artist of Armenia, ballet master Nadezhda Davtyan dies aged 67
Honored Artist of RA, ballet dancer Nadezhda Davtyan dies aged 67, press service at the ministry of culture reported on Monday. The ministry...
11:36
Suren Papikyan elected as Chairman of the Board of Civil Contract party
Armenian Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures Suren Papikyan was elected as Chairman of the ruling Civil Contract party...
11:32
Vardan Balayan quits as Deputy commander of the Artsakh Defense Army
Artsakh President Bako Sahakyan signed a decree on Monday according to which major-general Vardan Balayan was released from the position of...
10:49
Landslide occurred in the area adjacent to Halidzor village
Armenia’s ministry of emergency situations calls on citizens to avoid visiting Devil’s bridge” area for safety reasons during...
10:31
Armenian Church marks commemoration of St. Hripsime and her Companions
Today the Armenian Church marks commemoration of St. Hripsime and her Companions. Qahana.am reports that Noble Hripsime was one of the 37...
20:00
Weather update: Air temperature to not change essentially
Short-term rain with thunderstorm is predicted at night and in the afternoon of June 16-20 in most regions, Hydromet meteorological service...
19:31
Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli dies at 96
Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli has died aged 96, BBC reported.  The Florence native directed stars including Elizabeth Taylor in...
19:06
Defense minister visited frontline positions
Defense minister of Armenia Davit Tonoyan visited on Saturday one of the frontline positions of the RA Armed Forces. As the press department at...
18:49
Turkey unable to deny the fact of the Armenian Genocide, no matter Ottoman archives are open or closed
“Statements about opening the Ottoman archives are not new. For years, especially since 1987-88 Turkey has constantly been stating about...
18:00
Bradley Cooper in talks to replace Leonardo DiCaprio in 'Nightmare Alley'
Bradley Cooper  has the offer to play the male lead in the Guillermo Del Toro-directed remake, a role that was previously earmarked for...
17:25
Artsakh President visited Askeran and Martakert regions
Artsakh Republic President Bako Sahakyan visited  on Saturday the regions of Askeran and Martakert and inspected the realization of a range...
17:00
Criminal case instituted over fire shot at Lusahovit community head
Criminal case has been instituted in the Tavush regional investigative department over fire shot at Lusahovit community head, Investigative...
16:31
Venezuela crisis: Migrants dash to cross Peru border
Thousands of Venezuelans have rushed to cross into Peru in a bid to beat the introduction of tougher migration laws. From midnight local...
15:00
Big donors haven't given money pledged to Notre Dame restoration: report
Several big-money French donors haven’t contributed the hundreds of millions of dollars they pledged to give to help restore the Notre...
14:53
Artsakh reports around 140 Azerbaijani ceasefire violations over past week
The Azerbaijani armed forces violated the ceasefire along the Artsakh-Azerbaijan Line of Contact around 140 times in the past week. In the...
14:23
Michael Douglas says Steven Spielberg stopped him from receiving Cannes best actor award
Michael Douglas claimed Steven Spielberg stopped him from receiving a best actor award for HBO’s “Behind the Candelabra” at...
14:09
Armenian pianist Hripsime Aghakaryan wins Khachaturian Int'l Competition
Hripsime Aghakaryan, a pianist representing Armenia, became the winner of the 15th Khachaturian International Competition held in Yerevan on...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}