TORONTO, May 26, 2016 /CNW/ - Recently-released Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova was due to mark her 40th birthday in prison on Friday 27 May 2016, but she was released two days prior during her appeal. However, several charges against her remain.
Arrested in December 2014, Khadija was serving a seven-and-a-half year prison sentence in Azerbaijan on politically motivated charges of tax evasion, illegal entrepreneurship and abuse of power.
The real reason for Ismayilova's imprisonment, however, was her investigative journalism. For many years, Ismayilova has been one of very few journalists in Azerbaijan willing to explore risky topics like human rights abuses and corruption among Azerbaijan's ruling elite. Her reporting shed light on many truths the Azerbaijani authorities would prefer to keep hidden, and she is paying a high price for her courageous work.
To mark Ismayilova's birthday, call for all charges against her to be quashed and for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Azerbaijan, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is collaborating with other networks to coordinate a series of 40 parallel protests in cities around the world.
Event Details: Protest for Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova's 40th birthday
Location: Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen Street West
When: 27 May 2016, 12:30-13:00
The planned protests span 23 countries: Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Georgia, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Actions will take place in the following cities during the week leading up to Ismayilova's birthday, with most events taking place on the 27th: Amsterdam, Antwerp, Berlin, Besançon, Bielefield, Brno, Bruges, Brussels, Budapest, Chisinau, Copenhagen, Dallas, Dublin, Groningen, The Hague, Istanbul, Kharkov, Kyiv, Laval, Leuven, Liege, London, Minsk, Moscow, New York City, Oslo, Oxford, Paris, Prague, Seattle, Sofia, Stockholm, Strasbourg, Tbilisi, Trondheim, Toronto, Vilnius, Warsaw, Washington, D.C., and Zagreb.
Ismayilova's supporters around the world will be tweeting using the hashtag #FreeKhadija. Protest participants will be sharing their photos on a global Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/525528030963573/. CJFE will be collating photos and information on its Facebook page and Twitter feed: https://www.facebook.com/events/273023823040827/ and https://twitter.com/canadaCJFE.
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) monitors, defends and reports on free expression and access to information in Canada and abroad. Rooted in the field of journalism, CJFE promotes a free media as essential to a fair and open society. CJFE boldly champions the free expression rights of all people, and encourages and supports individuals and groups in the protection of their own and others' free expression rights.
SOURCE Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
For further information: or for media enquiries, please contact Duncan Pike, Campaigns and Advocacy Coordinator, [email protected] or +1 (416) 515-9622, ext 262