Azerbaijan's most prominent investigative journalist says the country is in the "midst of a human rights crisis" as it gets set to host the first European Games.
In a letter written from prison and published on June 12 in The New York Times, Khadija Ismayilova, a contributor to RFE/RL, urged the international community not to let the Azerbaijani government "distract" its attention from the rights abuses in the country.
Ismayilova has spent six months in detention awaiting trial on charges her supporters say are retribution for her extensive reporting on the financial dealings of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and members of his family.
In her letter, Ismayilova said she and other journalists, human rights defenders, and other activists have been "tucked away" out of site as Baku gets set to host the first-ever European Games.
She said while those "at the top continue to profit from corruption, ordinary people are struggling to work, struggling to live, struggling for freedom."
Ismayilova urged the international community to press Aliyev to release all political prisoners.