Jailed dissident criticizes Azerbaijan

AP News
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Posted: Jun 12, 2015 6:48 AM

MOSCOW (AP) — A jailed journalist has written a letter criticizing Azerbaijan for corruption and human rights violations as the first European Games get underway in the capital, Baku.

Khadija Ismayilova was imprisoned last year after investigating corruption allegedly involving President Ilham Aliyev. Activists say the jailing was part of a wider crackdown on opposition ahead of the games, the continent's analogue to the Olympics.

"The truth is that Azerbaijan is in the midst of a human rights crisis. Things have never been worse," says the letter, released Thursday by the PEN organization. "As those at the top continue to profit from corruption, ordinary people are struggling to work, struggling to live, struggling for freedom."

The organization said the letter was smuggled from prison in pieces.