International NGOs urge Azerbaijan to stop continued harassment of investigative journalist

Several human rights organisations, including Human Rights House Foundation, urge the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyevin to stop the continued harassment and intimidation of the investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova.

In the letter sent by registered mail to the government of Azerbaijan on August 12, the NGOs call upon the president to ensure an effective and transparent investigation into the threats made against the Radio Azalig– journalist Khadija Ismayilova. The harassment interfers with her investigative reports, which often look into corruption allegations and business holdings of high-level government officials. 

The human rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch, Civil Rights Defenders, Reporters without Borders and others, write that the smear campaign against Khadija Ismayilova started last year and continues as investigators are hesitant to probe the situation.

On March 2012, a secretly-recorded video of Khadija Ismayilova having sex with her boyfriend was posted on the Internet. The previous day, a pro-government newspaper ran a long article attacking her and criticizing her personal life.

Throughout 2013, newspapers officially affiliated with the ruling party continued the smear campaign, including references to the intimate video, publishing links to the websites where these videos were posted, as well as lies about her and her family members. 

Last month, another website posted more videos of an intimate nature apparently covertly filmed in her apartment, clearly intended to further intimidate and discredit her.

You can read the letter of concern here. 

The international NGOs also wrote to the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression to alert him about the continued harassment of Khadija Ismayilova.



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