Team of the Center for Investigative Journalism voiced solidarity with the journalist Khadija Ismayilova, sentenced to seven years and six months in prison. The Center displayed on Thursday, April 21, a banner on the balcony of its office, located right next to the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Moldova, demanding her release. CIJM team is protesting against the controversial decision of journalist’s imprisonment.
We have been forced to abandon this form of protest and to remove the banner on Friday, April 22, at the request of the owner of the building where the office of the Center is placed. Soon, the man who refused to introduce himself, but who claimed to be a representative of the embassy of Azerbaijan in Chisinau, came to CIJM's office insisting to remove the banner and disclose the author of the idea, the person or company who executed this order.
"He threatened us openly and repeatedly and said that we would have big problems. The discussion took place in the lobby between him and me. I, unlike him, introduced myself", said Cornelia Cozonac, president of the Center for Investigative Journalism.
We call on the police to investigate this incident. We ask the media NGOs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration and development partners of the Republic of Moldova to take note of this case. Also, we ask the Embassy of Azerbaijan to confirm or deny the delegation of a representative to the CIJM office to ask removal of the banner.
Journalist Khadija Ismayilova, author of several investigations about the businesses controlled by President Ilham Aliyev, has been convicted for alleged tax evasion. Human rights organizations have labeled the charges as political.