Azerbaijan: 27MAY Brussels protest calling for Azerbaijan to #FreeKhadija!
UPDATE: Despite the release of Khadija Ismayilova, gatherings will still go forward, and participants will celebrate her release, call for her full acquittal, and call for the
release of the country’s dozens of remaining political prisoners.
Jailed Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova
will be marking her 40th birthday in prison on Friday, 27th May 2016.
Arrested in December 2014, Khadija is serving a 7.5-year prison sentence
in Azerbaijan on politically motivated charges of tax evasion, illegal
entrepreneurship, and abuse of power.
The real reason for
Khadija's imprisonment, however, is her work as an investigative
journalist. For many years, Khadija has been one of very few journalists
in Azerbaijan remaining willing to explore risky topics like human
rights abuses and corruption among Azerbaijan's ruling elite. Her
reporting shed light on many truths the Azerbaijani authorities would
prefer to keep hidden, and she is paying a high price for her courageous work.
Khadija's arrest took place against the backdrop of an unprecedented
human rights crackdown in Azerbaijan, as authorities worked aggressively
to silence criticism and restrict the rights to freedom of expression,
assembly, and association. She is one of dozens of political prisoners
currently detained in Azerbaijani jails.
To mark Khadija's
birthday and call for her immediate and unconditional release, we are
gathering in Schuman Place on Friday, 27 May from 14:00-16:00 am as part
of a global action coordinated by the Sport for Rights campaign.
If you are moved by Khadija's case and want to take a stand for human
rights in Azerbaijan, please join us! Let us know you're coming through
this page, and invite your friends and colleagues!