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U.S. Protesters Demand Release Of RFE Reporter Ismayilova

People rally in support of jailed journalist Khadija Ismayilova in front of Azerbaijani Embassy in Washington on December 8.

About a dozen protesters have demonstrated outside the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Washington, demanding that the government release Khadija Ismayilova, an investigative journalist with RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service.

The demonstrators delivered postcards to the front of the embassy on December 8 calling on Baku to free the journalist.

An employee accepted the postcards at the door.

The protest was organized by photojournalist Amanda Rivkin, who had a fellowship in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijani authorities on December 5 ordered Ismayilova to be held in pretrial detention for two months.

She was summoned to appear in court over a case in which a man accused her of encouraging him to commit suicide.

Earlier on December 8, the head of the U.S. Helsinki Commission said he is "deeply concerned" about Ismayilova's detention.

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat from the state of Maryland, said Ismayilova had been "the target of unrelenting persecution" by the Azerbaijani government because of her efforts to "expose corruption within the country, as well as her advocacy on behalf of political prisoners."

Cardin said: "The current charges against her are bizarre and only seem designed to silence one of the few independent voices left in Azerbaijan."

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