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RFE/RL 'Disappointed' By Azerbaijani Journalist's Jail Extension

Jailed Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova (file photo)
Jailed Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova (file photo)

WASHINGTON -- RFE/RL has expressed disappointment over a ruling by an Azeribaijani court to extend the imprisonment of Khadija Ismayilova, an investigative journalist and contributor to RFE/RL, who has been behind bars since December.

"We’re profoundly disappointed," RFE/RL Editor in Chief Nenad Pejic said on May 15. "Her imprisonment has nothing to do with any wrongdoing or law, it is about silencing Khadija and RFE/RL, by any means necessary, period."

The court in Baku ruled on May 14 that Ismayilova's pretrial detention period would be extended for three months.

Ismayilova, whose investigative reporting has exposed corruption by Azerbaijani government officials, was arrested on December 5 and initially charged with inciting a man to attempt suicide.

The man who levelled the accusation later sought to withdraw his complaint, but prosecutors have not responded publicly to that request and Ismayilova was handed additional charges in February alleging tax evasion, illegal business activities, and abuse of power.

She denies any wrongdoing and says all the charges are politically motivated.

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