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Mehman Aliyev, the director of Turan News Agency, announced that an alternative investigation of this campaign will be conducted and a report on its findings will be presented to the Azerbaijani public and international organizations. He also condoned society’s indifference to the attack on Ismayilova: “The authorities have been able to neutralize some many people in this way. I don’t deny this. But Khadija Ismayilova didn’t retreat and she proved that they can’t silence everyone by blackmail.”
Aliyev believes that this attack was orchestrated by the government. “Any move against journalists can only be issued from the Presidential Administration. The cases of Gaminat Zahidov, Azer Ahmadov and Agil Khalil are clear examples. Before releasing the video, they sent Khadija a letter, and after that a smear article was published in Yeni Azerbaijan state newspaper, on March 13th. All of this suggests that this was ordered by the Presidential Administration”, said Aliyev, adding that Turan News Agency and IRFS will continue to support Khadija and will take consistent measures until the perpetrators of this appalling act are discovered.
Emin Huseynov, IRFS director, noted that Khadija’s case is yet another serious blow to journalists, following the murder of Elmar Huseynov, the editor-in-chief of the Monitor magazine. Huseynov also noted that the smear campaign against Khadija Ismayilova has been conducted very professionally. “The situation proves that this case was ordered by the ruling elite. I’d like to note that several experts on the freedom of internet security discovered that it is possible to buy an anonymous e-mail address from a US Company. According to US legislation, there are two ways of buying a domain in any countries: open and secret. Even if it is bought secretly it can be found by submitting an inquiry. By using inquiry programs the name of another company was detected. That company guarantees that no one can find you. Even if the law enforcement agencies try to investigate, it will be difficult. But there is one point – according to US legislation, the Federal Communications Commission has the right to find it, if a grave crime is committed and especially against the correspondent of a US radio. At least that company will be obliged to publicize the name of the offender”, said Huseynov, a human rights activist. He also noted that there is a threat to Khadija Ismayilova’s safety. He added that a terror act disguised as “a suicide” is a risk and so greater attention should be paid to her safety.
Khadija Ismayilova thanked everyone for their support and said that even some representatives of the state media had indicated their support. She noted that she was going to provide explanation at Baku City Prosecutor’s Office on March 17th, with the attendance of her lawyer Adil Ismayilov. She said that she is not quite satisfied with the criminal case launched on her lawsuit.
“I think that, the charge should be based not only on the interference in private life, but also on the harassment and interference with the journalistic activities. This blackmailing is an obvious harassment. I thank everybody who supported me. I will continue my investigations. I have been working on projects for which I contacted state organizations for comment- I think the current harassment is likely related,” noted the journalist, adding that she had done nothing shameful.
“It is a shame to enter someone’s bedroom and publicize their private life. It is a shame to build villas for your children with public money,” said Ismayilova, reiterating that she will not leave Azerbaijan. She said that she is going to continued with her scheduled travel abroad for conferences at the end of March.
Arzu Abdullayeva, the chairman of the Azerbaijani representation of the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly, called upon journalistic and human rights organizations, civil society activists and experts to be more active on this issue. She added that it is important to create a union of NGOs and mass media outlets to protect journalists and other persons that are victims of such ordered threats.”
Haji Ilgar Ibrahimoglu (chairman of DEVAM), Rasul Jafarov (coordinator of Human Rights Club), Sabuhi Gafarov (co-founder of Human Rights Club), Aynur Elgunesh (journalists) also condemned the campaign.