“As it happens my heritage is not Armenian, but I do not see why this should matter,” says Clooney.
Well-known human rights activist and attorney Amal Clooney on Wednesday told RFE/RL that she is not Armenian, as has been claimed by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s associates after she announced that she would defend the jailed Azeri human rights activist Khadija Ismayilova.
Aliyev and his circle of supporters have been attacking Clooney, by saying she is Armenian, in order to discredit her in the eyes of the Azerbaijani public.
“I don’t see how belonging to any nation, whatever it is, would discredit me in any way,” she stated. “As it happens my heritage is not Armenian, but I do not see why this should matter,” Clooney to RFE/RL.
“But obviously the fact I represented Armenia does not make me Armenian, any more than my representation of Cambodia before the International Court of Justice made me Cambodian, or my advice to the Greek government made me Greek,” she added.
Clooney was representing Armenia in a high-profile European Court of Human Rights case in connection with the Armenian Genocide.
The Azerbaijani side has made such assumptions on Clooney’s ethnicity also because her husband, renowned actor and humanitarian George Clooney supports the 100 LIVES initiative created by Armenian businessmen, and that Clooney likewise confirmed her involvement in this program.
Meanwhile, in a handwritten letter to RFE/RL, imprisoned Azerbaijani reporter Khadija Ismayilova, who is serving her time in a Baku prison, condemned the attacks on Clooney, who is helping represent her before ECtHR.
“I chose Clooney because she defended [journalists,] and I was happy with the quality of her defense,” Ismayilova said in the letter. “I didn’t ask about her heritage, as people from civilized countries don’t ask such questions.”
Clooney on Monday submitted a lengthy filing to the ECHR on behalf of Ismayilova.
George and Amal Clooney will travel to Armenia on April 22, on a three-day visit.
During the trip they will attend the 100 LIVES’ Aurora Prize award ceremony, where this prize is awarded to people who have risked their lives to help others, including for helping Armenians after the Genocide.