This Sunday, March 2, 2014 file photo, shows Azeri Khadija Ismayilova, a reporter for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, in Baku, Azerbaijan. (AP Photo/Aziz Karimov, file)
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Azerbaijan Wednesday released investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova from jail, where she was serving a 7½-year sentence, in an apparent move to deflect Western criticism of the ex-Soviet republic's human rights record.Ismayilova, who worked for U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe and was known for exposing corruption among Azerbaijan's ruling elite, was sentenced last September on charges which included embezzlement, illegal business activities and tax evasion.Azerbaijan pardoned 148 prisoners including journalists, rights activists and political opponents in March, although several other remain behind bars.
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