Azerbaijan: Khadija Ismayilova Allowed to See Family for First Time in Months

Khadija Ismayilova, the investigative journalist jailed in Azerbaijan, has been allowed to see her family for the first time since her December arrest.

khadijaKhadija IsmayilovaIsmayilova’s sister, Sabina Rahimova, spoke to her through a glass window at a Baku detention center on Tuesday.

Describing the visit on Wednesday, Rahimova said that despite Ismayilova’s continued detention over what are widely believed to be politically motivated charges, the reporter remains in high spirits and asked to send greetings to her friends and family.

Ismayilova was arrested on Dec. 5 and charged with inciting a former colleague to attempt suicide. Authorities have detained her ever since, later charging her over a number of new allegations including embezzlement and running an illegal business. She denies wrongdoing.

According to a recent extension order from a Baku court, Ismayilova may be detained until at least May 24. The Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty journalist’s appeal against the decision was rejected earlier this month, and the court removed one of her defense lawyers, Yalchin Imanov, from the case.

Ismayilova, 38, wrote widely read exposés of corruption at the highest levels of power in Azerbaijan, investigating the business affairs of President Ilham Aliyev and his family. Her arrest has been condemned by Reporters Without Borders, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the European Union, and Transparency International, among others.