New Charges Brought Against Azerbaijani Journalist Ismayilova


Last updated (GMT/UTC): 13.02.2015 19:26

New charges have been brought against independent journalist and RFE/RL contributor Khadija Ismayilova.

Ismayilova's lawyer, Fariz Namazly, said the new charges include embezzlement, illegal entrepreneurship, tax evasion, and abuse of power.

Ismayilova could be imprisoned for up to 12 years if she is found guilty of those charges.

Namazly said Ismayilova rejects the fresh charges against her.

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the new charges against Ismayilova, calling on Azerbaijani authorities to drop the charges and "release her immediately."

"Azerbaijani officials are not fooling anyone with their bogus charges. These are bald efforts to lock away journalists who investigate corruption and human rights abuses," CPJ Europe and Central Asia program coordinator Nina Ognianova said in a statement.

Ismayilova has been in pretrial detention since December 5 after she was taken into custody on suspicion of inciting an attempted suicide.

Ismayilova is one of several rights activists and independent journalists who have been caught in a crackdown by Azerbaijan.

In late December, RFE/RL's bureau in Baku was also ransacked and ordered closed by investigators, while dozens of RFE/RL's reporters were summoned by police for questioning related to their employment.