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Khadija Testimony: 'I Do Not Consider Anyone My Enemy, Even Ilham Aliyev'

Khadija Ismayilova
Khadija Ismayilova

Azerbaijani investigative journalist and RFE/RL contributor Khadija Ismayilova is on trial in Baku on a range of charges rights groups say are politically motivated retribution for her investigative reporting on the business activities of the country's ruling elite.

READ MORE: Ismayilova Trial Continues As Family Calls Case 'Lie From Top To Bottom'

Here are some excerpts from her August 18 testimony in court.

"I once again express my disapproval that the court is moving so hastily. I guess you are rushing to a resort vacation. Perhaps had European countries applied sanctions to Azerbaijan on time, you would not be rushing to Karlovy Vary right now. You are sacrificing our rights to your right for holidays. I object to the court’s hasty proceeding.

"You are accusing me of abusing my powers during my time as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty bureau chief, and of tax evasion and embezzlement.

"My work was with the creative side of the radio. I had nothing to do with the financial side of the radio. Just like all other employees of the radio, I too was hired. And I have done well at my job. And this is why I was arrested. The Baku bureau has been irreplaceable in showing the reality in the country. This is one of the reasons for my arrest.

"All I have been doing throughout this trial is to prove that 'yoghurt is white.' This is because the prosecution has a problem understanding even the basics. I understand there was an order to arrest me. But at least when arresting me [they] could have put forward some substantial evidence. When they arrested [jailed human rights lawyer] Intiqam Aliyev they had some kind of evidence against him. But not in my case. I am offended. You have insulted my intellect by approaching my case so superficially. Even colorblind people know that yoghurt is white. But the employees of the prosecutors' office don’t.

"Was it really necessary for the government to go to such great lengths in order to hold me in prison?

"Thanks to this decision I also know all the dirty deeds that take place in detention facilities too. For instance, I know that allocated meat and cheese portions are not served. It would be really good if the prosecutors' office actually investigates these corruption incidents. Now I know where and how the prosecutors' office scams and who it bribes.

"I do not consider anyone my enemy. Even [President] Ilham Aliyev. In general, I am very distant to notions of enemy and hatred. People who carry such emotions are weak."

-- Translation by Arzu Geybullayeva