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International Organizations Urge Azerbaijan To Stop Harassing Journalist

RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service correspondent Khadija Ismayilova accepts the 2012 "Courage in Journalism" award from the International Women's Media Foundation in New York in October 2012.
BAKU -- Eleven leading international human rights organizations have urged Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to stop a blackmail campaign against Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova.

In the letter sent to the Azerbaijani leader on August 12, the rights-defending organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and others, write that a smear campaign against Ismayilova that started last year continues as investigators are hesitant to probe the situation.

In March 2012 an explicit video showing Ismayilova with her boyfriend appeared on the Internet.

Last month, a new video containing Ismayilova's intimate and illegally obtained images was leaked after she reported about Aliyev's possible involvement in improper financial activities.

The groups reminded Aliyev that his country "has unambiguous international obligations to respect and protect both the right to privacy and freedom of expression."