Azerbaijan attacks Amal Clooney over support for jailed journalist

Azerbaijan attacks Amal Clooney over support for jailed journalist –

The Guardian – British human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has sparked outrage in Azerbaijan by taking on the case of jailed investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova.

Ismayilova, an outspoken critic of the government, has been in prison for more than a year on charges she claims are politically motivated.

Clooney and the Media Legal Defence Initiative will challenge Ismayilova’s detention in the European court of human rights, saying her extended pre-trial imprisonment violates the European convention.

The Azerbaijani media, which often acts as a mouth piece for the government, responded to the news by accusing Clooney of harbouring a vendetta against the Turkic countries of central Asia.

“Clooney targets Turkic states in her path to fame,” claimed AzerNews on Wednesday – an outlet known to defend the government against criticisms of human rights abuses. 

“We would like to note that Amal Clooney is an ethnic Armenian and she represented Armenian interests in the European court for human rights,” echoed the news service.

Clooney is of Lebanese heritage.

Ismayilova, 39, was detained in December 2014 after allegedly prompting a co-worker to attempt suicide but remained in custody even after the the charges were dropped, said Media Legal Defence Initiative attorney Nani Jansen.

The initiative is also representing Ismayilova in a case which accuses the government of failing to prosecute those involved in a sex-video blackmail attempt against her, which they say violated her right to privacy.

The journalist has also been sentenced to seven-and-a-half-years in prison on “economic charges” in a verdict delivered in September. Supporters say the conviction is in retribution for her exposés of corruption at the hands of the president, Ilham Aliyev.

Under the European court rules, Ismayilova’s case must go through the national appeal process before being considered. After being rejected at theBaku court of appeals, Ismayilova’s lawyers filed a case with Azerbaijan’s supreme court and expect to hear back “in two to three months, ” Interfax-Azerbaijan reported.

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