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Jailed Azerbaijani Journalist Ismayilova Fined In Libel Case

Khadija İsmayilova

Khadija Ismayilova, an investigative journalist and RFE/RL contributor who faces an array of charges she says are politically motivated, has been convicted of libel and fined 2,500 manats ($3,180).

Ismayilova's lawyer, Elton Quliyev, told RFE/RL that a Baku court judge issued the ruling on February 23 at the pretrial detention center where Ismayilova has been held since December 5.

Ismayilova was found guilty of publicly calling former opposition activist Elman Hasanov an agent of the national security ministry.

She denies having made such an allegation.

Lawyer Quliyev vowed an appeal.

Ismayilova, who has reported extensively on the financial dealings of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and members of his family, was initially detained on what authorities described as suspicion of inciting an attempted suicide.

She has since been hit with new charges including embezzlement, illegal entrepreneurship, tax evasion, and abuse of power, and faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted.

Ismayilova denies any wrongdoing.