Khadija Ismayilova

investigative journalist (via Skype)

Khadija Ismayilova, an award-winning investigative journalist known for deep investigations into corruption by the Azerbaijani Presidential family, was the target of a systematic smear campaign comprising threats, intimidations and gross violations of her privacy designed to prevent her from pursuing her journalistic work. She was arrested in 2014 on a trumped-up charge of inciting a former colleague to commit suicide. Her pre-trial detention was routinely extended and in 2015, she was additionally charged with large-scale embezzlement, illegal trading, tax evasion and abuse of authority. A Baku court sentenced her to 7.5 years in prison. She was released in 2016 but continues to be subject to a travel ban. She will therefore speak at the festival via Skype.

For a detailed list of the legal rulings from 2013 to 2019 involving Khadija, including the January 2019 ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, see this PEN America post.


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Events in past editions