AZERBAIJAN / Detained December 5, 2014 – May 25, 2016
UPDATE: Released on May 25, 2016 on probation after the court reduced her sentence to 3.5 years suspended sentence.
Khadija Ismayilova, an investigative journalist who reported high-level corruption allegations against President Ilham Aliev and his family, has been imprisoned since December 5, 2014. In addition to human rights violations, she reported on business dealings by the Aliyev family involving construction projects connected to the Eurovision Song Contest, which Baku hosted in 2012. She has been convicted of criminal libel in a closed trial and charged with embezzlement, tax evasion and other crimes. Ismayilova is a recipient of the 2015 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award. On September 1, 2015, Khadija was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in prison.