Tag: political prisoners

Azerbaijan: Khadija Free, But Other Political Prisoners Await Their Turn

At the end of March, in a letter published in the Washington Post and written from her prison cell in Azerbaijan, recently freed investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova noted the significance of President Ilham Aliyev’s impending visit to Washington DC for the Nuclear and Security Summit:

To get an invitation to this event from President Obama, he had to pardon several political prisoners. Although they have been released from jail, they remain confined within the country, barred from leaving, and justice has not been restored. This is a very costly invitation for Aliyev, who for years refused to accept international pressure or criticism on this issue.

Indeed, just three years ago, while standing next to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, President Aliyev said: “First of all, I’d like to say that none of my political opponents are in prison. This is absolutely wrong information. At the same time, I’d like to tell you that there are no political prisoners in Azerbaijan.”

At that time, Aliyev had been buoyed by a resolution adopted during the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) session in January 2013, which had rejected a report about political prisoners of Azerbaijan.