Cat-and-mouse in Baku: Authorities try to thwart an Azerbaijani investigative reporter – RFE/RL  

13:31 • 07.02.17



In her storied career as Azerbaijan’s most prominent investigative reporter, Khadija Ismayilova has been harassed, stalked, banned from traveling, and had compromising videos of her circulate on the Internet. She also spent 17 months in custody on charges her supporters say were politically motivated.


But what Ismayilova says happened to her on February 6 as she spoke to a European Parliament panel by video conference may have charted new territory.

Ismayilova, an RFE/RL journalist, was invited to testify before the Brussels panel discussion on human rights in Azerbaijan. Since the conditions of her release from prison last year include a ban on leaving the country, she had to speak by video conference.

About 20 minutes before the beginning of the scheduled discussion, she said her Internet connection was cut off. Five minutes later, she said, the electricity was shut off, not just to her house, but to her entire city district.

Then, she said, two of the main local cell providers also halted her service, restricting her ability to do the video conference. She said she noticed what appeared to be two SUV-type cars with satellite dishes on their roofs parked near her house.

So she called a taxi and set off driving around the capital Baku in search of an Internet signal.

"So now I am wandering around the city, [sitting] in a car, catching the Internet antennas through [the] mobile network," Ismayilova told the Brussels audience. "Hopefully, it will not be cut off in the middle of my speech."

She said she was able to continue speaking for around 10 minutes in the video conference. When the taxi she was in approached a tunnel, she told the driver to park at a nearby gas station, so as not to lose a mobile signal.


'Surrounded By Police'

Immediately after parking, her taxi was approached by three traffic-police cars and two other cars carrying plain-clothed officers, who surrounded the car, she said.

"I was still speaking and I made a sign to driver to get out of the car and speak outside, so I could finish. [The driver] was arguing outside the car, while I finished speaking my main speech, and was waiting for questions," she said. 

"While I waited inside the taxi, one of the policemen sat in the driver's seat, and said we had to drive the car to the" police lot for impounding cars. 

Coincidentally, Ismayilova said, one of her colleagues happened to be driving by. The police gave her permission to leave, and while in her colleague's car, she was able to answer one question from the panel in Brussels. Then her signal was lost and she couldn’t reconnect.

Her phone service, she said, was restored an hour later.

In Brussels, panel participant Darya Mustafayeva told RFE/RL that Ismayilova was responding to the first question from an audience member when the connection was lost.

"We didn't see any police or police cars or anything like that. We only saw her face as she was in a moving car the whole time and then the connection broke," said Mustafayeva, who represents the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, a group that brings together civil society organizations in the European Union and six former Soviet republics.


Aliyev Cancels Meeting

As it happened, Ismailyova's presentation overlapped with remarks given by Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, who was visiting Brussels to mark the beginning of negotiations between the European Union and the South Caucasus nation on a new cooperation agreement.

Speaking briefly before reporters, Aliyev made no mention of human rights as he spoke alongside European Council President Donald Tusk.


Tusk, meanwhile, said the issue of human rights did come up in their meeting.


"I stressed the importance attached to human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of expression," he said.


Aliyev later canceled a meeting with the European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, though it was unclear whether it was specifically due to the panel discussion Ismayilova was speaking at.


Officials with Azerbaijan's Ministry of Communications could not immediately be reached for comment. Azerbaijani authorities did not immediately respond to queries from RFE/RL.

Ismayilova was detained in December 2014 and later sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison on charges that were widely seen as retaliation for her award-winning reporting on the wealth of Aliyev and his family.

Among her most notable investigations was that Aliyev's relatives personally profited in the construction of a $134 million concert hall, built for Baku's hosting of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.

Since her release in May 2016, she has continued to openly criticize corruption in Azerbaijan and conducted other journalistic investigations

 

 





Загрузка...

LATEST NEWSAll Today news

18:13 • 19/09

Contract serviceman fatally wounded in Armenia’s north-east

17:50 • 19/09

Dunja Mijatović: Legal incapacity of individuals with disabilities 'challenge to their rights' in Armenia

16:18 • 19/09

IBM launches AI bias detector

15:52 • 19/09

Kocharyan explains reasons behind ‘political comeback’

15:08 • 19/09

Azerbaijan, Russia conduct joint drills in Caspian Sea

13:07 • 19/09

The Weeknd sued 'for at least $5m' for 'stealing' his hit song Starboy from another artist

12:36 • 19/09

EU 'ready to improve' Irish border deal

12:09 • 19/09

Trump hails 'exciting' agreements by North Korean leader

12:05 • 19/09

Turkish workers arrested after Istanbul airport protests  

11:30 • 19/09

Trump considers request for US military base in Poland

11:18 • 19/09

Jessica Simpson expecting third baby

11:06 • 19/09

Facebook accused of gender discrimination in job adss

10:34 • 19/09

We are ready for negotiations but must be prepared for war, prime minister says in Artsakh

09:24 • 19/09

Pentagon lists Russia, China as biggest threats to US

09:13 • 19/09

North and South Koreas ‘commit to era of no wars’

17:56 • 18/09

Armenian khachkar unveiled in Polish city

17:05 • 18/09

Armenian parliament official briefs PACE committee on Azerbaijani aggression against Armenian civilian settlements

16:55 • 18/09

Ucom doubles inclusions of uDaily prepay mobile internet service

16:35 • 18/09

Former Liverpool defender forced to retire with motor neurone disease just months after marrying England women's captain 

16:22 • 18/09

Armenia, China sign deal to facilitate air communication

15:40 • 18/09

Trump orders release of classified documents in Russia probe

15:24 • 18/09

Armenian government delegation conducts visit to Nagorno-Karabakh

14:51 • 18/09

Central Bank chief re-elected president of interstate bank council

14:40 • 18/09

Armenian defense minister meets with FAST foundation president

14:08 • 18/09

NASA's new spacecraft captures photo of more than a dozen celestial objects known to host exoplanets in stunning 'first light' image

13:45 • 18/09

Pakistan's austerity car auction falls short, new PM commutes by helicopter

13:25 • 18/09

Armenian family’s 400-year-old musical secret still rings true

13:17 • 18/09

Russia blames Israel for downing of plane, vows retaliation

12:45 • 18/09

Chief architect of Yerevan sacked

12:25 • 18/09

Republic Square selected as 'hot spot' of independence day events to symbolize success in ‘Velvet Revolution’

11:26 • 18/09

Libarman’s visit to Baku signals strengthening Azerbaijani-Israeli relations

11:09 • 18/09

Zhoghovurd: OSCE to turn closer spotlight on situation along Karabakh frontline

10:35 • 18/09

Russian military plane disappears during Israeli strikes on Latakia with 14 people on board

10:13 • 18/09

Zhamanak: Putin planning meeting with former presidents in Yerevan

09:56 • 18/09

SpaceX unveils first Moon Loop tourist

09:51 • 18/09

Sean Penn Calls #MeToo Movement ‘Receptacle of the Salacious’

09:44 • 18/09

Florence leaves 'monumental disaster' for North Carolina

09:31 • 18/09

Magnitude 1.9 earthquake hits Armenia’s south

09:13 • 18/09

SpaceX signs first private moon customer

09:12 • 18/09

Russia and Turkey agree to create buffer zone in Syria's Idlib

19:40 • 17/09

Facts, figures, and Results: Zvartnots International Airport reports details on its activity and not օnly

17:53 • 17/09

French actor Gerard Depardieu 'wants' to acquire Turkish citizenship

17:35 • 17/09

New head of OSCE Mission to Skopje takes office

17:23 • 17/09

Ukraine's Poroshenko terminates Treaty of Friendship with Russia

16:38 • 17/09

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 reportedly catches fire in user’s purse  

16:05 • 17/09

Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: Nagorno-Karabakh is not just conflict for Armenia

15:17 • 17/09

Turkish Coast Guard rescues 16 migrants as boat capsizes

14:46 • 17/09

Yerevan hosts 11th Armrobotics Championship

12:46 • 17/09

Britain’s oldest person reveals secret of longevity  

12:33 • 17/09

Arthur Abraham takes part in 45th BMW Berlin Marathon

12:02 • 17/09

Penelope Cruz dazzles in elegant one-shoulder gown as she joins husband Javier Bardem for LA screening of Loving Pablo

11:34 • 17/09

Armenian, Artsakh foreign ministers meet in Stepanakert

11:10 • 17/09

Turkey to increase troops in Turkish Cyprus

10:43 • 17/09

Elon Musk says Tesla now in 'delivery logistics hell'

10:14 • 17/09

Azerbaijan's armed forces open fire on Armenia’s south from Nakhicehvan

09:51 • 17/09

As Trump and Mattis clash in public, officials question how long he'll last at the Pentagon

09:37 • 17/09

It's not novichok, say police: 'Russian' couple fall ill at Salisbury restaurant with nerve-agent symptoms

09:15 • 17/09

New doubts emerge about US-led sanctions on North Korea

14:49 • 15/09

No more favoritism or privileged classes in Armenia - Pashinyan's interview with Le Monde

14:02 • 15/09

Kocharyan’s statements reflect level of his political understanding – Nikol Pashinyan

13:12 • 15/09

International Figure Skating Classic 2018: Armenia’s Slavik Hayrapetyan ranks fifth (video)

12:48 • 15/09

Erdogan travels to Baku  

12:07 • 15/09

Russian Orthodox church cuts ties with Constantinople over Ukraine

11:23 • 15/09

Zhamanak: Gyumri mayor 'to quit' over 'failure to work effectively' with Pashinyan's cabinet

10:49 • 15/09

Turkey demands release of 16-year-old boy held in Armenia

09:50 • 15/09

Jean-Claude Van Damme arrives in Armenia  

09:42 • 15/09

Nebraska doctor to face execution for killing four people

09:32 • 15/09

Azerbaijan shells border village in Armenia’s Tavush region

17:43 • 14/09

Jean-Claude Van Damme to visit Armenia

17:37 • 14/09

Apple criticized for new iPhones 'too big for women to hold'

16:27 • 14/09

French, Armenian leaders start working meeting in Paris

16:10 • 14/09

Armenian Genocide museum elects new director

15:26 • 14/09

Animals snapped enjoying surprise snowfall in South Africa

15:00 • 14/09

Armenian biker named double winner in Astana championship  

14:21 • 14/09

‘Velvet Revolution’ marked also revolution of values in Armenia – Nikol Pashinyan

12:49 • 14/09

Azerbaijan braces for military drills 'in response' to Armenia

12:05 • 14/09

Ucom to start pre-registration of iPhone XS and XS Max purchase

12:03 • 14/09

Amazon's Jeff Bezos commits $2 billion to help homeless, pre-schools

11:54 • 14/09

Hurricane Florence: Life threatening storm lashes US

11:09 • 14/09

Armenia 'important role-player' in global politics, prime minister says in France

10:01 • 14/09

US congressman raises call for Armenian Genocide recognition

09:31 • 14/09

Saroyan world premiere adds dates in Fresno and OC, announces encore L A performance

09:19 • 14/09

Gas explosions hit homes in Massachusetts

18:08 • 13/09

Mbappe better than Ronaldo, says De Vrij

17:42 • 13/09

We understand Armenian government’s desire to help compatriots in Syria - US Embassy

17:23 • 13/09

Meghan Markle pregnant? Bookies expecting baby announcement soon

17:06 • 13/09

US government encourages open labs in Armenia – embassy statement

16:36 • 13/09

Edward Nalbandian: Prime minister misleadingly accused former government of failure over Karabakh

15:01 • 13/09

Pashinyan vows to 'lock up' masterminds behind March 1 events  

14:09 • 13/09

Six killed in California shooting

13:55 • 13/09

Apple ends iPhone X and iPhoe SE sale

13:09 • 13/09

Trump signs order to punish US meddlers

12:55 • 13/09

Turkey to use national currency in property transactions

12:37 • 13/09

Pashinyan will regret messing with me – Robert Kocharyan

12:13 • 13/09

Pashinyan holds phone conversation with Kyrgyzstan's leader

11:11 • 13/09

Drake, Cardi B lead American Music Awards

10:52 • 13/09

Zhamanak: CSTO secretary general to step down over March 2008 coup charges

09:58 • 13/09

Putin to conduct official visit to Armenia - Russian paper

09:30 • 13/09

Turkey 'boosts arms to Syrian rebels' as Idlib attack looms

09:13 • 13/09

Apple unveils iPhone XS and fall-detecting watch