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2022, 23 Yanvar, bazar, Bakı vaxtı 03:26

Azerbaijani Prosecutors Refer To The US Senate Staffers As "Dogs" In Latest Round Of Questioning

Azerbaijan -- Journalist Khadija Ismayilova summoned to Prosecutor General's office - 19Feb2014
RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service journalist Khadija Ismayilova was summoned to the office of Azerbaijan's General Prosecutor today for the second day in a row.

The prosecutors continue to question Ismayilova about the nature of her informal meeting with two U.S. congressional staffers in Baku in late January.

Describing the session on March 12, Ismayilova told RFE/RL, "The prosecutor in charge of the case told me that the prosecution has an audio recording of my conversation with congressional staffers where I was talking about problems in Azerbaijan's educational system." According to her, the prosecutor said at one point, "Who are these dogs [staffers] that you would discuss with them Azerbaijan's education system?"

Ismayilova objected to the tone of the question and demanded that it be included in the official transcript of the session.

Ismayilova was summoned for questioning on February 18 by the prosecutor's office after pro-government media outlets claimed that she had handed files on Azerbaijani opposition politicians and other prominent figures over to the aides, who were allegedly working as U.S. intelligence agents.

The U.S. Embassy and RFE/RL's President and CEO Kevin Klose have both labeled the accusations "absurd," and U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) co-chair, Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-Md) has termed the charges "clearly fabricated and punitive in nature."

Ismayilova, who is known for her reporting on government corruption, has been targeted because of her journalistic work in the past. In early 2012, she was the target of a smear campaign in which an explicit video appeared on the Internet containing intimate and illegally obtained images of the journalist. The campaign intensified in August 2013 when a new video appeared on the Internet.