News / Europe

    Activists Turned Away From Visiting Jailed Azerbaijani Journalist

    FILE - Khadija Ismayilova
    FILE - Khadija Ismayilova

    Activists and journalists were turned away by Azerbaijani authorities Monday as they attempted to visit imprisoned Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova on the eve of International Women’s Day. 
    Ismayilova, an award–winning investigative reporter who published findings on the vast assets belonging to the family of President Ilham Aliyev, is serving a 7-plus years prison term on charges of tax evasion and abuse of power.  Ismayilova worked for two years as the Baku bureau chief for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Azerbaijani service, Radio Azadliq.
    Ismayilova’s supporters gathered outside the prison building holding bouquets of flowers.  They criticized the authorities’ decision to deny the visit. 
    “The fact that we were not allowed to present our gifts to her or even meet with her shows how much the government fears Khadija,” journalist Aynur Imranova told VOA. “We will not allow her name to be forgotten.”
    The entourage negotiated for over an hour with the authorities, trying to at least pass on flowers to Ismayilova.  But, citing prison procedures on visitation hours, the authorities refused to accommodate their requests, activists said.
    Ismayilova was initially arrested and jailed on December 5, 2014, on libel charges that international human rights groups said were trumped up. She was accused of inciting a former colleague to attempt suicide, charges that were later withdrawn by her accuser.  Subsequently, other charges were leveled against her including tax evasion, illegal business activity and abuse of power.

    Ismayilova rejected all charges as politically motivated and false, and RFE/RL characterized them as having “no basis in reality.”

    Ismayilova’s mother, Elmira, told VOA that her daughter’s struggle for free speech should be highlighted on International Women’s Day.
    “I congratulate our nation on the occasion of International Women’s Day, especially those women who fight for their people and for free speech,” she said. “I also wish to congratulate women who fight for improved governance.  I wish them to be steadfast and brave.  My word to women is that they should not fear.  I am proud that my Khadija is one such person.
    “Although she has been arrested, is not free, is not at home, I am proud of her.  I call upon all women and my people to fight without fear for the freedom of our people, for the development of our country,” Elmira Ismayilova said.
    During her time in prison, Ismayilova has translated Iranian American writer Sahar Delijani’s Children of the Jacaranda Tree into Azerbaijani. Writing the foreword to the translated edition of her book, Delijani praised Khadija for her courage.
    “This is a very special translation, not only because it is my mom's mother tongue, but particularly because it has been done by Khadija Ismayilova, a prominent Azeri journalist, now behind bars in Baku on political charges for more than a year,”  the author wrote. Delijani was born in the Evin Prison in 1983 where her mother was serving prison time for  political activism in post-revolutionary Iran.
    Amal Clooney, a human rights lawyer married to actor George Clooney, has signed on to represent Ismayilova before the European Court of Human Rights.
    Ismayilova last fall received the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award and the National Press Club’s John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award.
    “She tells me to stay strong,” her mother told VOA. “Tell everyone outside to continue the good fight.”

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora