Home Page > News Item > Azerbaijan: Investigative reporter Khadija Ismayilova released from prison

Investigative journalist and human rights activist, Khadija Ismayilova

25 May 2016 – The release of Azerbaijani investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova on probation is a welcome step, PEN International said today. Khadija, who turns 40 on Friday, had been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison on trumped-up financial charges in September 2015, having been detained since December 2014. The remainder of her sentence has been commuted to a three-year conditional sentence. She will be subject to a travel ban and other restrictions. PEN International will continue to campaign for all restrictions against her to be lifted.

Global Action

PEN International will join the Sport for Rights campaign, which has coordinated a global action to mark Khadija Ismayilova’s 40th birthday on Friday, 27 May, in 40 cities around the world. Gatherings to mark her birthday will still go forward, and participants will celebrate Ismayilova’s release, call for her full acquittal, and call for the release of the country’s dozens of remaining political prisoners.

The planned protests span 23 countries: Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Georgia, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Actions will take place in the following cities during the week leading up to Ismayilova’s birthday, with most events taking place on 27 May: Amsterdam, Antwerp, Berlin, Besançon, Bielefield, Brno, Bruges, Brussels, Budapest, Chisinau, Copenhagen, Dallas, Dublin, Groningen, The Hague, Istanbul, Kharkov, Kyiv, Laval, Leuven, Liege, London, Minsk, Moscow, New York City, Oslo, Oxford, Paris, Prague, Seattle, Sofia, Stockholm, Strasbourg, Tbilisi, Trondheim, Toronto, Vilnius, Warsaw, Washington, D.C., and Zagreb. Further locations will be revealed on 27 May.

Ismayilova’s supporters around the world will be tweeting using the hashtag #FreeKhadija. Protest participants will be sharing their photos on a global Facebook event page. The Sport for Rights campaign will be collating photos and information on its Facebook page and Twitter feed.

For more information or for media enquiries, please contact Holly Strauss, PEN International: Holly.strauss@pen-international.org or Sport for Rights coordinator Rebecca Vincent at rebecca.jane.vincent@gmail.com or +44 (0)7583 137751. Detailed information on each planned action, including individual contacts, can be found below.


City: Minsk
Location: Virtual
Sponsoring NGO: Belarusian Association of Journalists
Contact: Barys Haretski, harecki@gmail.com or +375 17 2036366


Cities: Antwerp, Bruges, Leuven, and Liege
Locations: Various
When: Antwerp 26 May; Bruges, Leuven, and Liege 27 May
Contact: Hasan Gafarov, +32 465 465 142

City: Brussels
Location: Place Schuman
When: 27 May, 14:00-16:00
Sponsoring NGO: International Partnership for Human Rights
Contact: Simon Papuashvili, + 32 494 75 39 42
Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/217698421948754/


City: Sofia
Location: Presidential Building, 2 Dondukov Blvd.
When: 24 May, 14:00
Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1699701296913195/


City: Toronto
Location: Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen Street West
When: 27 May, 12:30-13:00
Sponsoring NGO: Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Contact: Duncan Pike, dpike@cjfe.org or +1 (416) 515-9622, ext 262
Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/273023823040827/


City: Zagreb
Sponsoring NGO: Human Rights House Zagreb
Contact: Tina Đaković, tina.djakovic@kucaljudskihprava.hr

Czech Republic

City: Brno
Location: Moravske namesti
When: 27 May, 08:30
Contact: Jaromír Němec, jaromir.nemec@nesehnuti.cz or +420 775 264 711

City: Prague
Location: Staromestske namesti
When: 27 May, 13:00
Sponsoring NGO: Člověk v tísni (People in Need)
Contact: Adéla Pospíchalová, adela.pospichalova@clovekvtisni.cz or +420 777
787 968


City: Copenhagen
Location: Københavns Rådhusplads (Copenhagen Municipality Square)
When: 27 May, 16:00-18:00
Contact: Güllü Djangirova, gumkadj@gmail.com or +46 760 06 06 64
Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1005878306160544/


City: Besançon
Contact: Natiq Adilov, +33 6 67 06 68 49

City: Laval
Contact: Mahammad Mirzali, +33 07 82 04 34 44

City: Paris
Location: Embassy of Azerbaijan
When: 27 May, 11:00
Sponsoring NGO: Reporters Without Borders
Contact: Caroline Pastorelli, cpastorelli@rsf.org

City: Strasbourg
Location: Place Kléber
When: 25 May, 16:00
Contact: Aykhan Mehin, +33 0605704239 or +33 0782484967


City: Berlin
Location: Embassy of Azerbaijan (Hubertusallee 43,14193 Berlin)
When: 27 May, 11:00
Sponsoring NGOs: Reporters Without Borders Germany
Contact: presse@reporter-ohne-grenzen.de

City: Bielefield
Location: Kesselbrink (Skatepark)
When: 27 May, 16:00-20:00
Contact: Jasur Mammadov Sumerinli, +49 1737990626


City: Tbilisi
Location: Frontline Club Georgia
When: 27 May, 14:00-17:00
Sposoring NGO: Human Rights House Tbilisi
Contact: Nino Gvedashvili gvedashvili@gmail.com

City: Tbilisi
Location: Embassy of Azerbaijan (V. Gorgasali str. 4)
When: 27 May, 17:00
Contact: Orkhan Mammad, orkhanmammad92@hotmail.com, +995 592 80 76 83


City: Budapest
Location: Central European University
When: 27 May, 12:00-14:00
Sponsoring NGO: Human RightS Initiative
Contact: Zsofia Viktoria Suba, subazs@ceu.edu or +36 302192625


City: Dublin
Location: Top of Grafton Street (Dublin City Centre)
When: 27 May, 12:30-14:00
Sponsoring NGO: Front Line Defenders
Contact: Erin Kilbride, erin@frontlinedefenders.org or +1 207 450 5585
Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/781121748691866/


City: Vilnius
Location: Embassy of Azerbaijan (Gedimino pr. 35)
When: 27 May, 12:00
Sponsoring NGO: The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Contact: Antanina Maslyka, projects.belarus@humanrightshouse.org or +370 674
Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/942722925826410/


City: Chisinau
Location: Embassy of Azerbaijan (ul Kogelnichanu, 64)
When: 27 May, 11:00
Sponsoring NGO: Center for Investigative Journalism in Moldova
Contact: Cornelia Cozonac, c_cozonac@yahoo.com or +373 69070225
Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/990771947657854/

The Netherlands

City: Amsterdam
Location: Virtual
Sponsoring NGO: Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Contact: Harry Hummel, +31 703926700

City: Groningen
Location: Grote Markt
Contact: Kenan Kafarov, +31 610927558

City: The Hague
Location: Embassy of Azerbaijan, Andries Bickerweg 6, 2517 JP ‘S-Gravenhage
When: 27 May, 13:30-14:30
Contact: Efe Kerem Sözeri, eksozeri@hotmail.com or +31 647063422


City: Oslo
Location: Egertorvet, Karl Johansgate
When: 27 May, 11:30-12:30
Sponsoring NGOs: Human Rights House Foundation, Norwegian Helsinki
Committee, Norwegian PEN
Contact: Berit Lindeman, lindeman@nhc.no or +47 909 33 379
Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/618329244989338

City: Trondheim
Location: Solsiden, Nedre Elvehavn
When: 28 May, 12:30-14:30
Sponsoring NGO: Amnesty International Midt-Norge
Contact: Tove Marie Paasche, +47 99 50 7125


City: Warsaw
Location: Prymasa Tysiąclecia Street/ Obozowa Street
When: 24 May, 10:00
Sponsoring NGOs: Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Polish Green Network
Contact: Dominika Bychawska-Siniarska, +48 504 080 152
Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1624890487833420/


City: Moscow
When: 27 May, 14:00-15:00
Sponsoring NGO: Amnesty International Russia
Contact: Sergei Nikitin, sergei.nikitin@amnesty.org or +79032862559


City: Stockholm
Location: Drottninggatan 90, Stockholm
When: 27 May, 12:00-13:00
Sponsoring NGO: Östgruppen, Amnesty
Contact: Maria Hamberg, maria.hamberg@ostgruppen.se or +46 076-9456505
Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1020714951347053/


City: Istanbul
Location: In front of the Sea Museum (Deniz Muzesi) near the Shangri La Hotel in
When: 19:00 on Friday May 27th
Contact Minai Massimova (+905 442 560425)


City: Kharkov
Location: Майдан Свободи (Freedom Square)
When: 27 May at 16:00
Contact: Elmir Misir-zada, elmir.misirzada@gmail.com or + 38 0932860944

City: Kyiv
Location: Virtual
Sponsoring NGOs: Euromaidan SOS, Center for Civil Liberties
Contact: Oleksandra Matviychuk, avalaina@gmail.com or +38 0674 494839

United Kingdom

City: London
Location: Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, 4 Kensington Court, W8 5DL
When: 27 May, 10:00-11:00
Sponsoring NGOs: Amnesty International, ARTICLE 19, English PEN, Freedom
Now, Global Witness, Index on Censorship, PEN International, Platform
Contact: Rebecca Vincent, rebecca.jane.vincent@gmail.com, or+44 7583 137751
Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1573029016328670/

City: Oxford
Location: The Albion Beatnik Bookshop, 34 Walton Street, Jericho, OX2 6AA
When: 27 May, 17:30-19:00

United States

City: Dallas, Texas
Location: Klyde Warren Park (west side near children’s area – bring a picnic!)
When: 27 May, 19:00
Contact: Meredith Niezgoda, Meredith.Niezgoda@gmail.com or +1 972-693-4505

City: New York City, New York
Location: In front of the UN Headquarters
When: 27 May, 14:00
Sponsoring NGOs: Access Now, PEN America
Contact: Emil Ismayil, ismayilemil@gmail.com or +1 917 714 2535
Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/269877020023646/

City: Seattle
Contact: Katy Pearce

City: Washington, D.C.
Location: White House
When: 26 May, 12:00-13:00
Sponsoring NGOs: Amnesty International USA, ARTICLE 19, Committee to
Protect Journalists, Crude Accountability, Freedom House, Freedom Now, Reporters Without Borders
Contact: Karl Horberg, khorberg@freedom-now.org or 203-733-6378
Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/513531158847253/