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Baku Prosecutors Wrap Up Case Against Ismayilova

BAKU – Prosecutors in Azerbaijan wrapped up their case against investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova on August 20 at a closed trial in Baku.

After concluding their case against the 39-year-old Ismayilova, the prosecutors asked the court for an additional day in order to present their sentencing request.

Ismayilova, an RFE/RL contributor who reported extensively on corrupt officials in Azerbaijan, faces charges of embezzlement, tax evasion, and abuse of power.

She could face up to 17 years in prison if convicted.

Ismayilova rejects the charges as politically motivated retaliation for her investigative reporting.

Her arrest has sparked widespread condemnation by international human rights activists and Western governments.

Her mother, Elmira Ismayilova, has described the trial as "a lie from top to bottom."

Since the trial began on July 24, journalists and independent observers have not been allowed into the courtroom to monitor developments.

Amnesty International calls Ismayilova a "prisoner of conscience."

The Committee to Protect Journalists also says she was charged in retaliation for her investigative reporting.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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