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Jailed Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova (left) and international rights lawyer Amal Clooney (combined photo)

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has offered to take the case of jailed Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova to the European Court of Human Rights.

Ismayilova, an RFE/RL contributor, and her lawyer are said to be considering Clooney's offer.

Clooney, the wife of Hollywood actor George Clooney, has taken on several prominent cases in recent years in such countries as Egypt, Armenia, and the Maldives, defending people imprisoned on charges often seen by human rights groups as politically motivated.

Ismayilova was sentenced in September 2015 to 7 1/2 years in prison on charges widely viewed as being trumped up in retaliation for her reports linking family members of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to massive business and real estate holdings.

Russian opposition activist Vladimir Ionov

A Russian opposition activist who was the first person charged under a strict new protest law has been added to the country's wanted list.

Vladimir Ionov's lawyer, Olga Dinze, said on January 19 that Moscow's Preobrazhensky district court ordered her client's case returned to the prosecutor's office and is now a wanted man.

Ionov, 76, did not show up last month at his own trial on charges of attending more than two unauthorized public protests during a six-month period, which under legislation enacted in 2014 can result in a potential 1 million ruble fine ($12,600) or up to five years in prison.

Rights activists call the new law a menacing tool to crack down on dissent.

Another Russian opposition activist, Ildar Dadin, who was sentenced to three years in jail on December 7, became the first person to be convicted under the legislation.

Russian media reported last month that Ionov fled to Ukraine.

With reporting by Rapsinews and Interfax

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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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