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European Parliament Urges Azerbaijan To Release Journalist Ismayilova

STRASBOURG, France -- European lawmakers have passed a resolution calling for the immediate and unconditional release of investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova and several other Azerbaijani activists, human rights defenders, and lawyers.

Ismayilova, a contributor to RFE/RL, was sentenced on September 1 to 7 1/2 years in prison on charges widely seen as retribution for her reports on corruption involving senior government officials.

The resolution urges EU authorities "to conduct a thorough investigation into the corruption allegations against President [Ilham] Aliyev and members of his family."

It also calls on both the EU Commission and EU member states to mount "a strong and unified response to the crackdown under way in Azerbaijan" and to consider "targeted sanctions and visa bans on all politicians, officials and judges involved in the political persecutions.”

The text was backed by all political parties in parliament apart from the center-right European People's Party.