BAKU -- The U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan has criticized what it calls "disgusting personal attacks" against Khadija Ismayilova, an RFE/RL investigative journalist and talk-show host in Baku.
In a statement, the embassy urged Azerbaijan's government to complete "a legitimate investigation" into the intimidation, blackmail, and harassment of Ismayilova.
It said the "ongoing, targeted harassment" of Ismayilova was "appalling and must stop."
It also said a legitimate investigation would demonstrate "Azerbaijan is concerned about reporters' rights and safety, upholding the rule of law, and promoting an ethical and robust media environment" during the 2013 presidential election campaign.
Ismayilova has been the target of a personal smear campaign by pro-government media and websites in Azerbaijan since March 2012, shortly after her investigative reports exposed high-level government corruption in Baku.