Azerbaijani Journalist’s Trial Continues
The criminal libel trial of OCCRP partner Khadija Ismayilova is ongoing and will continue on Nov. 14. Additional details will be posted at that time.
She has been accused by Elman Hasanov of publishing defamatory documents on Facebook alleging that he is a paid informant for the Ministry of National Security and a rapist. Ismayilova says that while she did publish a document about a paid informant, she did not identify the person. She further says she never published any information about an alleged rape.
Ismayilova appeared in court on the allegations on Oct. 17 and Oct. 29, following a preliminary hearing held without her present. The trial will resume on Nov. 11.
On Oct. 21, she was invited to a parliamentary working group on political prisoners. This group, which previously existed from 2003 to 2008, reconvened in August following an agreement between Thorbjørn Jagland, secretary general of the Council of Europe, and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev. Ismayilova had written to Jagland expressing concern over the lack of members in the group not tied to the ruling party.
Just a day after being invited to the group, however, Ismayilova found her invitation revoked and she was not permitted to join the meeting. According to Vugar Aliyev of the presidential administration, other non-governmental organizations had protested her participation in the group, although the meeting had not yet started.
Despite concerns over Azerbaijan’s human rights record, COE is hosting a conference in Baku on implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights this weekend, Oct. 25 and 26, according to The New York Times. Nils Muižnieks, COE Commissioner for Human Rights, stated that he will not be attend the conference.
“Contrary to some media reports, I have not come to Azerbaijan to participate in a conference,” he said, “But to meet with human rights defenders in detention, their defense lawyers and families, and to continue my dialogue with the authorities on ways to improve freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of assembly in the country.”