Jailed Azerbaijani journalist and Truthdig Global Voices contributor Khadija Ismayilova. (Aziz Karimov / AP)

Award-winning Azerbaijani journalist and Truthdig Global Voices contributor Khadija Ismayilova, whose investigations revealed corruption and graft by her country’s ruling family — led by President Ilham Aliyev — was sentenced to 7½ years in jail Tuesday.

READ: ‘The Reporting that Jailed Khadija’

In a defiant closing statement before her conviction in Baku, Ismayilova, who was Truthdig’s Truthdigger of the Week earlier this year, said a lengthy jail term would not crush her spirit.

“I might be in prison, but the work will continue,” she said. The court did not allow Ismayilova to read her statement in full.

The Guardian reports:

Prosecutors had asked the court to sentence Ismayilova to nine years in prison on charges of libel, tax evasion, illegal business activity and abuse of power.

The sentence has been condemned by human rights activists. “This was yet another unfair trial relying on fabricated charges,” said Amnesty International’s Denis Krivosheev. “The government has stepped up its brutal crackdown on political activists, journalists, human rights defenders – indeed anyone who dares to publicly raise a critical voice.”

Several other journalists and activists have been imprisoned in Azerbaijan in what has been widely seen as an effort to stifle dissent.

Ismayilova’s statement to the court described the government of President Ilham Aliyev as a “repression machine” and denounced what she called “the presidential family’s stolen money stored in offshore accounts, their abuse of state deals and contracts with offshore companies and groups, and of evading taxes”.

Read more here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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