Amal Clooney’s client award-winning Azerbaijan reporter Khadija Ismayilova has been freed on orders of the supreme court of the country Wednesday. The investigative journalist was given seven-and-a-half year sentence and was in jail since December 2014. She was sentenced unlawfully on corruption charges which caused outrage among the international community.
Critics felt that she was singled out for investigating businesses close to the family of the president Ilham Aliyev. Talking to BBC, Ismayilova told that she would fight to clear her name. “They dropped two charges and two charges are still remaining. I’m still convicted on illegal entrepreneurship and tax evasion and I haven’t been doing any entrepreneurship,” she said.
The journalist said that the charges against her were false and illegal, adding that she would work towards getting them dropped too. She told that the government was not softening its stance on critics, and if they released two political prisoners, they arrested three more. Talking about the problem, Ismayilova said that the problem was not getting solved, but aggravated as more people were being arrested.
However, to please international critics, sometimes the government released some people. The reason behind the Azerbaijan supreme court’s decision to release Ismayilova is not known. Amal’s team had submitted the case to the European Court of Human Rights in March and a decision was expected. The 38-year-old lawyer is representing in the journalist in the human rights court.
Meanwhile, Amal told in an interview with BBC on April 25 that she was moved by Ismayilova’s case, as she was really courageous, inspirational woman, a young woman of only 39 years. According to the British-Lebanese attorney Ismayilova knew very well of working as a reporter in the country where one of her colleagues was gunned down.
“Besides, the idea that the government, Azerbaijan as a member of the Council of Europe, could actually put a reporter behind bars because they didn’t want her to be able to tell the truth made me really angry and I thought perhaps I could help her,” Amal said. She added that her client’s name was not in the list of prisoners who were released.