Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. (Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP)

Azerbaijani elites are outraged that British human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has agreed to defend in European court Khadija Ismayilova, the investigative journalist who was sentenced to seven and a half years in jail after exposing corruption and abuse by the ruling Aliyev family.

Ismayilova, a Truthdig Global Voices contributor, was honored as Truthdigger of the Week while she was in prison in January 2015.

The Guardian reports:

Clooney and the Media Legal Defence Initiative will challenge Ismayilova’s detention in the European court of human rights, saying her extended pre-trial imprisonment violates the European convention.

The Azerbaijani media, which often acts as a mouth piece for the government, responded to the news by accusing Clooney of harbouring a vendetta against the Turkic countries of central Asia.

“Clooney targets Turkic states in her path to fame,” claimed AzerNews on Wednesday – an outlet known to defend the government against criticisms of human rights abuses.

“We would like to note that Amal Clooney is an ethnic Armenian and she represented Armenian interests in the European court for human rights,” echoed the news service. […]

The initiative is also representing Ismayilova in a case which accuses the government of failing to prosecute those involved in a sex-video blackmail attempt against her, which they say violated her right to privacy.

The journalist has also been sentenced to seven-and-a-half-years in prison on “economic charges” in a verdict delivered in September. Supporters say the conviction is in retribution for her exposés of corruption at the hands of the president, Ilham Aliyev.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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