Dear Ms. Ismailova...

I do not know your address and for that reason I thought I’d speak to you publicly. 

A month ago, while you were still imprisoned, I sent you my book with a short dedication in which I thanked you for your selfless work. Today, to celebrate the fact that you are finally free, I would like to express my deepest respect for you one more time. Everything that happened to you is a reflection of this deep moral and socio-political crisis in the country. Your release, however, is not an act of someone’s good will or humanism; you were released thanks to the strength of your spirit.

Political analysts and historians will commit themselves to thoroughly investigating your civil feat. And I will take note of something else: having all these notorious, dramatic, and sometimes even tragic circumstances of your and our common life, the fact that Azerbaijan has a figure like you does honour to our nation. I’m certain that sooner or later, we will come to the point of mass recognition of the fact that among the number of distinguished fighters for human rights in the world, our compatriot Khadija Ismaylova holds a respectful place. 

One of the most important human values is the capability to tell the truth to those in power. In Azerbaijan, these people are cruelly persecuted. But your release gives us a reason to hope that democratic transformation promised by our authorities will eventually begin. However, the real proof of these changes would be a complete withdraw of the charges laid on you and the release of all political prisoners, whose names are known well beyond Azerbaijan. 

Dear Khadija, I am happy that these challenges that have befallen you have not suppressed your vitality and optimism. On one hand, a person my age sees many ongoing things in life without any particularities or details. On the other hand, it gives me an opportunity to appreciate the most important things. And the most important thing in today’s Azerbaijan is people like you. 

A big hello to your mother. Her behavior and resilience are worthy of our admiration and can prove one of my oldest observations: women in Azerbaijan are often more masculine than men. But anyway, it does not matter who speaks the truth as long as it is being said. 

I wish you a lot of success in this life on the path that you have chosen. 

Rustam Ibrahimov

P.S. Did You receive my book? I would like to find out whether you did or not during a personal meeting in Baku...

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