Ismayilova’s sentence was reduced on appeal to three-and-a-half years probation, a way of silencing those campaigning on her behalf without acknowledging her innocence.
“It is a great relief to hear that Khadija is no longer behind bars and can go home to her family,” said Johann Bihr, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Eastern Europe and Central Asia Desk.
“RSF shares her joy and reiterates its support for her, since the organization is still aware that she has not been acquitted and that a probation sentence remains a conviction.
KHADIJA is free!Send her a birthday card !
“She has spent eighteen months in prison on trumped-up charges. Justice will be served when those responsible for this judicial harassment themselves face judgement.”
Charges against her of abuse of authority and embezzlement were withdrawn but she remains accused of tax evasion and illegal trading.
Azerbaijan is ranked 163rd of 180 countries in the RSF World Press Freedom Index.