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Khadija Ismayilova

Imprisoned Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova has won a UN press award for "her outstanding contribution to press freedom in difficult circumstances."

Ismayilova, an investigative journalist and RFE/RL contributor, was selected to receive the 2016 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

"Khadija Ismayilova highly deserves the prize and I am happy to see that her courage and professionalism are recognized," said Ljiljana Zurovac, president of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2016 Jury.

The $25,000 prize is named in honor of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist who was assassinated in front of the offices of his newspaper, El Espectador, in Bogota on December 17, 1986.

Ismayilova is currently in prison on embezzlement and tax-evasion charges widely believed to be retribution for her reports on corruption involving senior government officials.

An arson attack has destroyed the office of a Ukrainian judge presiding over the case of two Russian nationals charged with fighting alongside pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine's chief military prosecutor Anatoliy Matios said the attack on the Kyiv office of Judge Mykola Didyk was carried out around 3 a.m. on April 8.

Matios said Didyk’s office was destroyed but added that legal documents related to the case of the two Russian nationals were not damaged.

Matios said the attack was "an attempt to frighten" Didyk.

Didyk is the presiding judge in the cases of Aleksandr Aleksandrov and Yevgeny Yerofeyev, Russian nationals who were arrested in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region in May last year and charged with fighting alongside Russian-backed separatists.

Aleksandrov's lawyer, Yuriy Hrabovskiy, was found murdered in Ukraine last month. Ukrainian authorities arrested two people in connection with the killing.

Aleksandrov and Yerofeyev first admitted in a video that they were on active duty with the Russian military when they were captured, but later retracted that.

Moscow contends the two men were not serving in the country's armed forces when they were detained by Ukrainian forces.

Based on reporting by 112.Ukraine and Mediazona

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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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