Arrest of journalist latest case of crackdown of free media in Azerbaijan, says OSCE Representative
BASEL, Switzerland, 5 December 2014 – OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today condemned the arrest of Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismailova.
“The arrest of Ismailova is nothing but orchestrated intimidation, which is a part of the ongoing campaign aimed at silencing her free and critical voice,” Mijatović said.
On 5 December Khadija Ismailova, a journalist with Radio Azadliq, was sentenced to pre-trial detention for two months on charges of inciting a person to commit suicide. If convicted, Ismailova may face up to seven years in prison.
“I repeat my call on the authorities in Azerbaijan to stop this practice, which is detrimental to media freedom,” Mijatović said.
The arrest of Khadija follows a number of recent arrests and lengthy prison sentences handed down to journalists and free speech advocates in Azerbaijan. They include:
Rasul Jafarov, free speech advocate, on charges of abuse of power and tax evasion;
Seymur Hazi, columnist for Azadliq newspaper, on a charge of hooliganism;
Omar Mamedov and Abdul Abilov, bloggers, on charges of illegal storage and sale of drugs; Parviz Hashimli, journalist, on charges of smuggling and illegal storage and sale of firearms; Nijat Aliyev, editor-in-chief of azadxeber.org news website, on various charges, including drug possession and incitement of hatred; Sardar Alibeyli, editor-in-chief of P.S. Nota newspaper, on charges of hooliganism; Rashad Ramazanov, an independent blogger, on charges of illegal storage and sale of drugs, and others.
Mijatović is in Basel for the OSCE 21st Ministerial Council.
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media observes media developments in all 57 OSCE participating States. She provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom and promotes full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments. Learn more at www.osce.org/fom, Twitter: @OSCE_RFoM and on www.facebook.com/osce.rfom.