May 3, on World Press Freedom day, Chairman Rep. Chris Smith of the Helsinki Commission Issued a statement where he highlights importance of free media as "an essential foundation for democracy and human rights reminding of journalists who risked their lives to report on stories from their respective countries.
" Let’s not forget Anna Politkovskaya or the many other Russian journalists murdered in the past fifteen years – whose killers have still not been brought to justice. Press freedom remains unknown in Russia. But today we remember above all Khadija Ismayilova, a fearless investigative journalist harassed and currently imprisoned by the government of Azerbaijan”, read the statement.
"Beginning in 2010 Khadija Ismayilova, an investigative journalist in Azerbaijan, published hard-hitting investigative reports on corruption at the highest levels of the Azerbaijani government. In response, the Azerbaijani state security services tried to intimidate her. When that failed, in 2014, the government arrested her on trumped-up charges."
“If the Government of Azerbaijan thought it could deflect attention from its abuses by locking up Khadija, they were sorely mistaken. In fact, Khadija’s continued imprisonment only serves as a constant reminder of the corruption she sought to expose. Her imprisonment is wrong and she should be released immediately."
Chris Smith is the sponsor of the Azerbaijan Democracy Act of 2015.