The Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum welcomes the long-awaited release of the investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova from prison.
Ms Ismayilova was unjustly persecuted and imprisoned for her journalistic work and served 1.5 years of a 7.5-year prison sentence. Since her sentence has only been reduced to a suspended 3.5-year term, the Committee calls on the authorities to drop all charges against the journalist.
The Steering Committee expects that in accordance with the country’s formal obligations as a member of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Council of Europe, the authorities in Azerbaijan will respect Ismayilova’s right to continue her professional activities, and her travel ban will be lifted.
Finally, the SC awaits the release and rehabilitation of the remaining political prisoners in Azerbaijan. The government must recognise that this is the only way towards achieving long-term stability in the country.