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Azerbaijan's first lady, Mehriban Aliyeva, had an awkward run-in with a journalist not long after meeting with French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace.

Azerbaijan's first lady, Mehriban Aliyeva, enjoyed a warm welcome from French officials during her high-profile visit to Paris last week, including a tete-a-tete with President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace.

A new investigative report, however, reveals that a team of French journalists gave a significantly frostier reception to Aliyeva, whose husband has ruled the oil-rich Caucasus nation with an iron fist since succeeding his dying father in the job a decade ago.

The program, Cash Investigation, broadcast on French national television on September 7, shows its reporter, Elise Lucet, approaching the first lady as she opens a photo exhibition held at a city hall in the heart of Paris and titled Azerbaijan, Land Of Tolerance.

"Is your country really a land of tolerance for you?" the reporter asks.

"Yes, of course," answers Aliyeva, looking slightly alarmed.

The journalist then points out that Azerbaijan, a country with one of the world's worst human rights records, has "many political prisoners in jail."

"How can you say that? It's not true," Aliyeva responds as she tries to inch away, advising the journalist to go and "get correct information."

Unfazed, the reporter asks the first lady to comment on the cases of rights advocate Leyla Yunus and journalist Khadija Ismayilova, two leading critics of Aliyev's regime recently jailed amid an international outcry.

Aliyeva is seen turning her back without answering, while her security guards push the journalist away and order her to "be silent."

"We are in France," the reporter responds, adding that "journalists can ask questions in France."

As the inauguration festivities continue, Aliyeva eventually retreats into an office.

WATCH: Elise Lucet Challenges Mehriban Aliyeva​



The exhibition was organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, run by Aliyeva and named after current Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev's late father, who ruled the Caucasus country for a decade before his death in 2003.

In August, a court in Baku sentenced Leyla Yunus to 8 1/2 years in jail on charges of fraud, tax evasion, and illegal business activities in a trial widely regarded as retaliation for her human rights work.

Her ailing husband Arif, 60, was sentenced to seven years on charges of fraud.

Ismayilova, a contributor to RFE/RL, was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison on strikingly similar charges.

A Pakistani journalist has been killed in the southern port city of Karachi.

Unidentified gunmen shot dead Aftab Alam near his house on September 9.

He has worked for different television channels.

This is the second attack on journalists in Karachi in less than 24 hours.

Police said gunmen opened fire on a van of Pakistan’s largest private broadcaster Geo TV late on September 8, killing technician Arshad Ali Jafri and wounding another staffer.

After the attack, journalists' unions called for greater security for media personnel and the speedy arrest of the attackers.

According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, more than 50 media workers have been killed in Pakistan since 1992.

With reporting by AFP

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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