Khadija Ismayilova‘s trial continued today in Azerbaijan as Judge Ramella Allahverdiyeva overturned defense motions for judicial investigation of spurious charges. Attorneys for both sides made final statements, and the court session adjourned after the defense attorneys’ request for additional time to allow Ismayilova to prepare her final statement was approved by Judge Allahverdiyeva. Ismayilova is expected to give her statement when the trial resumes on August 31st. A verdict in the case is expected at the next hearing.

Ismayilova’s defense attorneys raised 30 motions that demonstrated the spurious nature of the charges and their client’s innocence. Each motion was overturned by Judge Allahverdiyeva, moving the trial closer to a final verdict and a possible 9-year sentence. PEN American Center, along with a range of independent monitors, rights groups, and Khadija herself protest the charges, stating that they are politically motivated and in retaliation for her investigative reporting into corrupt activities carried out by President Aliyev and his family. The trial, which started on July 24, has failed to meet basic international standards of due process and fairness.

Khadija Ismayilova is the recipient of the 2015 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award for her courageous investigative reporting about corruption within the Azeri government, with pieces like Azerbaijan: Baku’s Deep Pockets for Art Abroad Contrasts with Restrictions at Home and Azerbaijani President’s Family Benefits From Eurovision Hall Construction.

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