BAKU, Azerbaijan – A court in Azerbaijan has convicted investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova of several financial crimes and sentenced her to 7½ years in prison, in a case widely criticized by human rights organizations.
Ismayilova and her supporters say the charges were retribution for her reports on alleged corruption involving President Ilham Aliyev and his family in the oil-rich former Soviet republic.
The Baku court convicted Ismayilova on Tuesday of embezzlement, illegal business activity, tax evasion and abuse of power, but found her not guilty of inciting a colleague to commit suicide.
Ismayilova, who was jailed in December, was a contributor to U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Several other journalists and rights activists also have been imprisoned in Azerbaijan in what has been widely seen as an effort to stifle dissent.