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Khadija Ismayilova, a leading figure in investigative journalism, is the latest in a long list of Azerbaijani activists to become political prisoners. She has been imprisoned since 5 December, after being denounced as a “traitor” by Ramiz Mehdiyeb, head of the country’s presidential administration.

Human rights and press freedom organisations such as Reporters Without Borders have dubbed the charges against Ismayilova as “senseless”. They highlight the relevance of her reports about official corruption in a country whose ruling elite has engaged in repressing free media, civil society and political opposition for years.

In the words of one of her closest friends, “Khadija had been asking for funds for investigations, and donors were failing to provide the necessary funds. Funds were so small that we never could launch any serious investigative journalism projects so far.”

APC joins in the calls for the charges against Khadija Ismayilova to be dropped and for sanctions to be adopted against top Azerbaijani government officials participating in jailing and torturing journalists and free speech activists.