Ismayilova Targeted Again

Published: 01 August 2013


Khadija Ismayilova, OCCRP regional coordinator and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondent, has been attacked once again.

A website in Azerbaijan pretending to be the opposition party put up a new video of Ismayilova and her boyfriend filmed by secret cameras in her living room and bedroom. Opposition party members have confirmed that it was not their doing.The footage is part of an ongoing smear campaign attempting to discredit and shame her into halting her investigations.

“The continued harassment of investigative reporters in Azerbaijan is a clear indication that the government is not interested in democracy, accountability and freedom of speech,” said Drew Sullivan, editor of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project in Sarajevo.

Ismayilova is an award-winning investigative journalist working in a country ranked near the bottom in press freedom. She reports on corruption and wrongdoing in the government and about the unethical business dealings of President Ilham Aliyev’s family.

“We named Aliyev as our organized crime and corruption person of the year last year and he continues to prove he is a worthy candidate this year as well,” said Sullivan.

In March 2012, Ismayilova received a package containing intimate images of her and her boyfriend taken with cameras in her apartment along with a note calling her a whore and telling her to behave or risk being defamed. No one has been charged.

"The terror I am facing will not make me turn from the right path," said Ismayilova in a post on Facebook on Tuesday. "I will not be silent, I will not leave my country and I will continue my work. Whatever it takes."

Updated: August 1, 2013