Khadija Ismayil’s investigations causing her arrest

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Caricature of VOA: Khadija Ismayil cleaning off corrupt, willful officials and adulating people in Azerbaijan

Journalist Khadija Ismayilova, a Radio Free Europe/OCCRP reporter, was taken into custody in Baku, Azerbaijan on 5 December, in the latest of a series of legal moves to put pressure on her.

Ismayilova, known for her investigations into the business interests of the family of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, is charged in the latest case of inciting a man to commit suicide.

In 2012, Khadija Ismayil blackmailed with her bedroom scenes. She says that, “These repressions are price we pay for the work we do.”

These are Khadija Ismayil’s investigations causing her arrest:

Azerbaijani president’s Daughters Tied to Fast-Rising Telecom Firm 

Azerbaijan’s President Awarded Family Stake in Gold Fields

President’s Family Benefits From Eurovision Hall

Ismayilova has also been charged in a separate case centering on a document that she posted on social media that indicated Azerbaijani secret services used an explicit, illegally filmed sex tape to blackmail an opposition activist into informing on other opposition figures.

On December 4, Azerbaijan’s Presidential Chief of Staff Ramiz Mehdiyev publicly accused Ismayilova of treason and called RFE/RL’s employees in the country spies.

Ismayilova sees the legal pressure as part of a broader crackdown against civil society by Azerbaijan’s government.

She is known for her extensive reporting on the business interests of President Ilham Aliyev’s family.

In October, Azerbaijani authorities prevented Ismayilova from traveling to Prague, where she had been due to attend an international conference.

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“IF I GET ARRESTED”, Khadija Ismayil’s appeal to international community

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February 19, 2014

Things get more complicated here. So there are couple things I want to ask for:

To international Human Rights activists:

You are doing everything right. Keep doing it.

To democratic countries, diplomats, international organizations:

Just in case, I want to remind my request to international community in terms of possible advocacy actions regarding my possible arrest:

Some of you want to help, but can do it only with private diplomacy.

Thank you, but No.

WHEN MY CASE IS CONCERNED,  if you can, please support by standing for freedom of speech and freedom of privacy in this country as loudly as possible. Otherwise, I rather prefer you not to act at all.

I don’t want any private diplomacy for my case. I don’t believe in human rights advocacy behind closed doors. People of my country need to know that human rights are supported.

I also don’t want any release-appreciation trade for my release. My possible arrest will be just one of the more than hundred politically motivated arrest and government of Azerbaijan has managed to use revolving doors of prisons for getting positive feedback from the West: releasing one prisoner, getting praised, arresting two.

To fellow international journalists:

IF/WHEN I get arrested, I want you to make sure that your audience understand the reasons. Anti-corruption investigations are the reason of my arrest. The government is not comfortable with what I am doing. I am about to finish three investigations. I will make sure to finish them before anything happens, if not my editors and colleagues will finish and publish.

İnvestigations I am working on are on the same topic:

Selected reports and investigations:

Latest report (in Azeri) is about Czech company of Arzu Aliyeva, president’s daughter. The company is sold to tax minister’s advisor. Law bans officials from owning businesses and it is not clear where the 1,2 millions EUROSare taken?

2012 President awarded family stake in gold fields

Lucrative gold mining contract signed in 2007 with unknown companies is about to bring millions to it’s secret owners. Khadija Ismayilova and Nushaba Fatullayeva discover familiar names hidden behind offshore companies. Azerbaijani President’s daughters are among beneficiaries.

2012 President’s family has a stake in Eurovision concert hall

Azerbaijan spends hundreds of millions to host Eurovision contest, with more than a hundred millions of public funds invested into the concert hall. Khadija Ismayilova’s investigation traces one of the subcontractors, involved to the expensive project and finds a link to the president’s family. The same company is involved into construction of state funded “patriot” project in 2010– the highest flagpole in the world (which became second highest after Tajikistan beat the record few months later) and shady privatization of energy construction facilities.

2011 Tracking the President’s family business

For more than five years government of Azerbaijan lied to citizens about ownership of the mobile phone operator, naming German Siemens as an owner of Azerfon company, enjoying favorable conditions in the market, not available for competitors. The investigation reveals that president Aliyev’s daughters were behind Azerfon through shell companies in Panama.

2010 President Aliyev’s family and the illegal privatization of the public airport

The investigation conducted with Ulviyya Asadzade documented how President IlhamAliyev’s family was involved in the illegal privatization of the public bank and other parts of state owned Azerbaijan Airlines company, to benefit the Aliyev family. The government never publicly announced the privatization. The report was declared “the best investigation of Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty in 2010” among the 28 language services of the radio.