The human rights lawyer will represent former Voice of America anchor Khadija Ismayilova before the European Court of Human Rights. She will aid the journalist alongside Nani Jansen, legal director at the Media Legal Defence Initiative, according to a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
Ismayilova, who moved from Washington to her native Azerbaijan to highlight political corruption in her home country for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, is currently serving a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence after being sentenced last September for tax evasion, embezzlement and abuse of power in the Azer capital of Baku.
Clooney’s team at Doughty Street Chambers in London – alongside Amnesty International and a host of other human rights organizations – describe the case as “politically motivated,” before adding that her trial in September 2015 was “a sham.”
The glamorous London barrister, who on Sunday brushed off personal attacks against her in a special interview with Meet the Press host Chuck Todd, will argue that both the charges and Ismayilova’s pre-trial incarceration violated her rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.
The application has already been accepted by the European Court and Clooney and her co-councils will now request that the Court hold a hearing in Strasbourg, France.
It is the latest in a line of high-profile cases adopted by the London-born lawyer since she married husband George Clooney in September 2014. Last week, she met with several members of the U.S. Congress, including Sen. John McCain, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski and Sen. Patrick Leahy to promote the case of the former president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed.
Speaking to NBC News’ Cynthia McFadden, Clooney recently admitted her new surname has enabled her to follow in the footsteps of celebrities like Angelina Jolie and highlight human rights causes like never before.
“If there’s more attention paid – for whatever reason – to that, then I think that’s good,” Clooney said. “I think there is a certain responsibility that comes with that. And you know, I think I’m exercising it in an appropriate manner by continuing to do this kind of work.”
Ismayilova’s case centers around her work as an investigative journalist and outspoken critic of the Azeri government on her daily talk show for Radio Free Europe.
Most notably, this included linking a complex web of businesses and offshore bank accounts to Azeri President Ilham Aliyev’s family and his closest ministers, before accusing them of embezzling the vast profits from Azerbaijan’s immense oil riches in property and construction deals.
Tensions came to a head in 2014 when she was accused of leaking government secrets to the U.S. Senate. She was later banned from traveling outside of Azerbaijan after she flew to visit the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Ismayilova was finally arrested in Dec. 2014 on suspicion of “inciting another person’s suicide” – charges that were later dropped. According to the statement released by Doughty Street, she was repeatedly denied bail until her conviction in an unfair trial in September of last year.