On 14 November, investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova’s bank account was frozen by an Azerbaijani court.
“Woke up to notification that someone is trying to access my Google account,” the former political prisoner’s Facebook post reads. “Then got letter from the Administrative Economic Court #1, informing me that my bank account is already arrested (decision was made on November 8), I can protest the decision within 10 days and the essence of the issue - whether I should pay RFE/RL's still disputed tax liabilities or not - will be considered in the court on November 27 at 10.00 am.”
Ismayilova told Meydan TV that she would seek an explanation for the freezing of her account from the First Economic Court:
It looks like they want to waste my time with new legal proceedings, but this is a very disgraceful thing to do.
The Tax Ministry has not commented on the matter.
Khadija Ismayilova, whose investigative reports have uncovered massive corruption among Azerbaijan's most powerful political elites, was arrested on 5 December 2014 and sentenced to seven years and six months in prison on charges of tax evasion and illegal entrepreneurship. She denied the charges and said she was arrested because of her investigative journalism.
On 25 May, 2016, Azerbaijan’s Supreme Court ordered the journalist’s release, putting her on probation for five years and issuing a suspended sentence later reduced to two years and three months.
Although Ismayilova was released from prison, she is not allowed to leave the country. Her appeals to have her travel ban lifted have been rejected by Azerbaijani courts.
On 26 September 2017, Ismayilova was awarded the Right Livelihood Award “for her courage and tenacity in exposing corruption at the highest levels of government through outstanding investigative journalism in the name of transparency and accountability.”
Two days later on 28 September, she received the Allard Prize for International Integrity “for challenging corruption and misuse of power at the highest levels of government and for inspiring a new age of political activism in Azerbaijan where media is strictly controlled.”