Update: Letter From Jailed RFE/RL Journalist Khadija Ismailova

Posted December 19th, 2014 at 11:45 am (UTC+0)
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A photo of Khadija Ismayilova's letter from Kurakhani prison (click to enlarge), Photo: RFE/RL

A photo of Khadija Ismayilova’s letter from Kurakhani prison (click to enlarge), Photo: RFE/RL

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty this week published a letter from their Azeri language service colleague, Khadija Ismailova, reporter is being detained in the Azerbaijan capital of Baku, as detailed in an earlier RePRESSed post.

With characteristic cheer, she writes:

My dear friends!

Here in pretrial detention, my thoughts are with you. My only regret is that here I am restricted from helping you.

You are doing an important job helping oppressed people. Happy New Year to you and all like-minded people.

I am full of hope on the eve of this New Year that truth and justice will win.

Arrests and restrictions are part of our mission in telling the truth. My arrest proves one more time that it is important to make change happen: We need to build a new reality where truth will be a norm of life and telling the truth will not require courage.

You all know why I am here in prison. Uncovering corruption is the real reason. And the only way to prove oppressive regimes wrong is to continue uncovering corruption, to continue defending the rights of oppressed people. Yes, there is a price to pay. But it is worth it!

As Nazim Hikmet, the Turkish poet, wrote: “Those who carry the teardrops of their siblings as a heavy burden upon their neck shouldn’t follow our path.”

Stay strong!

Keep doing a good job!

More investigations, more efforts for justice and human rights — this is my wish for 2015.


Khadija, unfortunately, is in good company this year.  The press freedom advocacy group Reporters Without Borders estimates that in 2014, 180 journalists were imprisoned across the globe, along with 13 media assistants and 178 netizens.

A bit of bright news came out of Iraq today.  The new prime minister, Haider Al-Abadi, has dropped all pending lawsuits filed by his office against journalists, a move that he hopes will demonstrate commitment to freedom of expression and his support for the press.



Cecily Hilleary
Cecily began her reporting career in the 1990s, covering US Middle East policy for an English-language network in the UAE. She has lived and/or worked in the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf, consulting and producing for several regional radio and television networks and production houses, including MBC, Al-Arabiya, the former Emirates Media Incorporated and Al-Ikhbaria. She brings to VOA a keen understanding of global social, cultural and political issues.

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About rePRESSEDed

VOA reporter Cecily Hilleary monitors the state of free expression and free speech around the world.



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