“You need to think how to save our country, not us,” Khadija Ismayilova, an imprisoned investigative journalist, said in response to the recent presidential order that pardoned
. The decree, signed by President Ilham Aliyev on December 28, did not include rights defenders, such as Ismayilova.
“We don’t want to be pardoned, we demand an acquittal and apology for violating the law with regards to our cases,” she said.
Ismayilova, who was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison last September, met with her lawyer Yalchin Imanov on December 30.
According to the lawyer, Ismayilova viewed the pardon order as an opportunity for the government to exercise common sense and rectify the mistake they have made: “The government has made a mistake in our cases. There is an opportunity to correct it if they exercise common sense and wish to make things right. If they don’t have enough common sense in order to do it, then any actions that invite the government to make it right, including sanctions initiatives from the USA, are welcome. The important thing is for the truth to win. Furthering the deception on the
scenario does not suit us.”
According to Ismayilova, American politicians have for the first time begun working on initiatives to restore human rights in a sound and systematic way, the lawyer said referring to a
aimed at denying US visas to senior members of the Azerbaijani government. “I hope this initiative continues till the end. This initiative serves no one but the interests of the Azerbaijani people. Only those who side not with the people but against them can oppose these initiatives,” she said. Ismayilova also stated that she did not suffer from any health issues related to her ongoing detention.
“I am fine; our country is in a much worse situation than us right now. You need to think how to save our country, not us,” she commented.