Her account was frozen right before she was due to receive compensation from the government for unjust persecution
Well-known journalist Khadija Ismailova’s bank account has been frozen.
She thus cannot receive compensation she is due from the Azerbaijani government. The journalist’s lawyer says that any barriers to the payment of compensation imposed by the European Court of Justice are illegal. The Ministry of Taxes and the National Bank are refraining from commenting, the BBC reports.
Who is Khadija Ismayilova
Khadija Ismayilova is an Azerbaijani journalist known for her high-profile investigations and criticism of the Azerbaijani authorities.
In 2015, she was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison on charges of tax evasion, theft, illegal business and abuse of power. In 2016, the prison term was replaced by a suspended sentence.
While Khadija Ismayilova was in prison, international organisations demanded her release, claiming the arrest was politically motivated.
What is the compensation for?
Back in January 2013, Khadija Ismayilova was detained at a protest rally and sentenced to a fine. She refused to pay, and then she was sentenced to community service. In April 2017, the European Court recognised this as a violation and ordered the government of Azerbaijan to pay Ismayilova 6,000 euros in compensation and 2,000 for legal costs.
Why was her account frozen?
Khadija’s attorney, Fariz Namazli, says it is possible her account was frozen because of the tax evasion charges, but that this should not have hampered any payments.
Namazli says they will lodge a complaint with the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers.
According to Khadija Ismayilova, the account was frozen on 4 December, and the compensation due to her was transferred to the same account on 11 December.
“It turns out that the national bank, having violated secrecy, either issued information about my account to the Ministry of Taxes or they did it in the presidential office,” the journalist suggests.