United States Troubled by Developments in Azerbaijan

Press Statement
Mark C. Toner
Deputy Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
August 16, 2016

The United States is troubled by the August 12 arrest of Azerbaijani opposition Republican Alternative (REAL) Movement Executive Secretary Natig Jafarli. We also are troubled by reports of additional arrests of activists. We urge the Azerbaijani government to release these and other activists incarcerated in connection with exercising their fundamental freedoms, to respect the fundamental freedoms of its citizens, and to allow an open and public dialogue about the direction of the country, particularly in the run-up to the planned September 26 constitutional amendment referendum. We also urge the government to submit the constitutional amendments for a joint Venice Commission and ODIHR Opinion.