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RFE/RL Journalist Ismayilova Released From Azerbaijani Custody

RFE/RL journalist Khadija Ismayilova walked free from an Azerbaijani prison and vowed to keep on working after the country's Supreme Court reduced her sentence from from 7 1/2 years in custody to a suspended term of 3 1/2 years.

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Khadija Ismayilova (left) is greeted by her mother, Elmira, after being released on May 25.
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Khadija Ismayilova (left) is greeted by her mother, Elmira, after being released on May 25.

"Greetings! I am out of prison," Ismayilova said on Facebook. "Thank you all for your support. I am strong and full of energy. I will continue my work as a journalist."
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"Greetings! I am out of prison," Ismayilova said on Facebook. "Thank you all for your support. I am strong and full of energy. I will continue my work as a journalist."

Ismayilova was detained in December 2014 and sentenced in September 2015 on charges that have been widely seen as retaliation for her award-winning reporting linking the family of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to corruption. 
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Ismayilova was detained in December 2014 and sentenced in September 2015 on charges that have been widely seen as retaliation for her award-winning reporting linking the family of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to corruption. 

Her imprisonment had elicited international condemnation against the Aliyev government and Western governments and press-freedom groups had repeatedly called for her release.
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Her imprisonment had elicited international condemnation against the Aliyev government and Western governments and press-freedom groups had repeatedly called for her release.

The Baku court reversed Ismayilova's convictions on charges of misappropriation of property and abuse of position, but upheld her convictions for illegal entrepreneurship and tax evasion.
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The Baku court reversed Ismayilova's convictions on charges of misappropriation of property and abuse of position, but upheld her convictions for illegal entrepreneurship and tax evasion.

Ismayilova is greeted by Intigam Aliyev, a human rights lawyer released from prison on March 28 after his 7 1/2-year sentence was commuted.
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Ismayilova is greeted by Intigam Aliyev, a human rights lawyer released from prison on March 28 after his 7 1/2-year sentence was commuted.

Western governments and rights groups welcomed news of her release, and urged Baku to free other journalists and government critics widely seen as political prisoners.
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Western governments and rights groups welcomed news of her release, and urged Baku to free other journalists and government critics widely seen as political prisoners.

Ismayilova relaxes with her family and friends.
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Ismayilova relaxes with her family and friends.

Khadija sits with her mother, Elmira.
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Khadija sits with her mother, Elmira.

Ismayilova, 39, has been hailed for her investigative work, and received wide accolades including the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
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Ismayilova, 39, has been hailed for her investigative work, and received wide accolades including the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists said in a press release that the decision was "cause for celebration, but does not erase the rank injustice of her imprisonment for a year and a half on retaliatory charges."
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The U.S.-based Committee to Protect Journalists said in a press release that the decision was "cause for celebration, but does not erase the rank injustice of her imprisonment for a year and a half on retaliatory charges."

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