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European Officials Concerned At Azerbaijani Journalist's Detention


BRUSSELS -- Senior EU and Council of Europe officials expressed concern on December 9 over the detention of Azerbaijani investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova.

A spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called Ismayilova's detention "a step against the freedom of expression" that is "key to any democratic society."

Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland said Ismayilova's arrest was "unnecessary" and "sends a very negative message to the civil society in Azerbaijan and to the international community."

On December 5, a Baku court ordered Ismayilova, who is a contributor to RFE/RL's Azerbaijani service, to be held in pretrial detention for two months.

She is charged with pressuring a man to commit suicide.

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks wrote on his Facebook page that Ismayilova's case was "yet another instance of the selective use of criminal provisions against those expressing critical views" in Azerbaijan.

Both officials called for the immediate release of Ismayilova and other journalists and activists who are behind bars.

With reporting by Rikard Jozwiak in Brussels and RFE/RL's Azerbaijani service

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