With Azerbaijan in the spotlight as the inaugural European Games got under way last week, a jailed journalist is calling for justice from her Kurdakhani prison cell. In a letter to the editor of the The New York Times, Khadija Ismayilova said she is one of the many defenders of human rights, politicians, and youth activists imprisoned for speaking out against human rights abuses committed by the Azerbaijani government. “The truth is that Azerbaijan is in the midst of a human rights crisis. Things have never been worse.” Imprisoned for exposing government corruption, Ismayilova said she continues to investigate from her jail cell, though her notes have been taken, and she’s been placed in solitary confinement — prohibited from seeing her lawyers and family members. Khadija asks that people “Call for the release of all political prisoners. Stand up for freedom of expression in Azerbaijan. Stand up for human rights,” adding that if prison is the price to pay, “it’s worth it.” She went on in the letter to say, “Do not let the government of Azerbaijan distract your attention from its record of corruption and abuse. Keep fighting for human rights, for those who are silenced … The people of Azerbaijan need to know that their rights are supported.”
Read the full story at The New York Times.