Azeri Investigative Journalist Takes Fight to European Court
Khadija Ismayilova, an independent investigative journalist based in Baku and recipient of the 2012 Courage in Journalism Award, has asked the European Court of Human Rights to order the government of Azerbaijan to take action to protect her from violence and threats and to end gross invasions of her privacy.
Over a 10-year career in journalism, Ms Ismayilova has published numerous reports on government corruption and she is internationally known for her pro-democracy stance. Since 2010, she has published a series of articles linking the president and members of his family to companies that were awarded large government tenders. Subsequently, she started receiving threats.
When Ms Ismayilova complained to the authorities, a video showing bedroom scenes from her apartment was published on the internet, apparently taken through hidden cameras that had been illegally installed, and state media ran reports criticizing her for 'immoral behaviour'. A further complaint to the Chief Prosecutor resulted in the publication of a report that discredited Ms. Ismayilova and published the identity of several of her friends and others who had visited her apartment.
In her complaint to the European Court of Human Rights, Ms Ismayilova asks the Court to rule that the Azeri authorities have violated her right to respect for private life. Furthermore, Ms Ismayilova argues that the actions of the Azeri authorities were clearly linked with her work as a journalist, in particularly as regards her reports on corruption, and therefore violated her right to freedom of expression as well. She has asked the Court to rule that her rights have been violated and for damages to be paid.