BAKU, February 18, 2014 (RFE/RL) -- An investigative journalist with RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service says she has been summoned for questioning in an investigation into the leaking of state secrets. Khadija Ismayilova said the Department for Grave Crimes in Baku had summoned her for questioning today as a witness.
The move came after pro-government media outlets last week claimed Ismayilova had handed files on Azerbaijani opposition politicians and other prominent figures to U.S. Senate staffers who were allegedly working as U.S. intelligence agents. The U.S. Embassy in Baku called this "absurd."
Ismayilova is known for her reporting on government corruption. She described the articles as "a provocation" and part of a government attempt to intimidate her. Ismayilova has received threats in the past; in early 2012 an explicit video appeared on the Internet containing intimate and illegally obtained images of the journalist.
Embassy Statement Regarding Recent Media Reports:
"Recent media reports alleging that two U.S. Senate staffers visited Azerbaijan for intelligence purposes are absurd. As we said last week, congressional staff delegations routinely visit Azerbaijan to meet with embassy staff, Azerbaijani officials, and civil society representatives. They do so to better inform our government’s legislative efforts regarding Azerbaijan and the rest of the region."