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khadija ismayilova

Khadija Ismayilova

HRD, Journalist
Radio Azadliq (Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty)
IWMF Courage of Journalism Award

 In 2012, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) awarded Khadija Ismayilova its Courage of Journalism Award to honour "her hunt for the truth and the price she pays to inform the public."

Alison Des Forges Award

Four courageous and tireless advocates for human rights are the 2015 recipients of the prestigious Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism, reported Human Rights Watch.

US National Press Club’s Press Freedom Award

The National Press Club announced that it will honor an Azerbaijani reporter, Khadija Ismayilova, with one of its 2015 press freedom awards.

Right Livelihood Award

In 2017, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation awarded Khadija Ismayilova “for her courage and tenacity in exposing corruption at the highest levels of government through outstanding investigative journalism in the name of transparency and accountability”. Right Livelihood Award, widely referred to as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize.

They didn't succeed in silencing me. I’m going to continue my investigations. There is always work to do in a country like Azerbaijan where corruption is on such a large scale

Khadija Ismayilova is a prominent journalist and human rights defender in Azerbaijan and is well known for her investigative reports on corruption, including cases indicating the reported involvement of the Azerbaijani President's family. Prior to her arrest in late 2014, she also reported on the situation of political prisoners in Azerbaijan, advocating for their release, and she worked for Radio Azadliq (a local service of Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty).

In 2015 Khadija was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison on trumped up charges and it is widely accepted that these charges were fabricated to silence her legitimate investigative work to expose corruption.  She was released on probation 25 May 2016, following an international campaign on her behalf.

The space for human rights defenders (HRDs) and NGOs has been steadily shrinking in Azerbaijan. A number of legislative amendments have been adopted in recent years that restrict the work of HRDs and put their activities under strict governmental control. The roundup of the most prominent HRDs and their subsequent trials and imprisonment indicate that Azerbaijan is well on the road towards authoritarianism, seemingly adopting a Russian-style contempt of civil society.


Khadija Ismayilova