Even though Khadija Ismayilova has been released from prison, she cannot be perceived as free. Patrucic pointed out that although her colleague was released after serving only one and a half years for a seven-year jail sentence, she still faces, among other things, a five-year travel ban. This means that she is not able to leave Baku and thus, for example, cannot travel for investigations or to meet her colleagues from OCCRP. She also faces a ban on holding any official position: it is not clear what this means as an official position could be any professional post, such as an editor.
ECPMF calls for political pressure on Azeri government
Also the ECPMF warns not to overestimate the release as a positive sign for a sudden turn towards media freedom in Azerbaijan – and called upon the German government to take action on 7 June, when Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev came to Germany on an official visit to meet the Chancellor Angela Merkel for bilateral talks.
Angela Merkel cannot ignore the human rights violations in Azerbaijan. The German government needs to take a strong stand position for the release from jail of imprisoned independent journalists and other political prisoners”,
comments Henrik Kaufholz, Chair of the ECPMF.
“The politically motivated accusations against Khadija Ismayilova and others need to be dropped immediately. To credibly maintain Germany’s position as guardian of European values and human rights, it is the federal government which needs to demand these actions from Aliyev.”