The United States is disturbed by recent reports of the abduction in Tbilisi, Georgia, and subsequent arrest in Azerbaijan of Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli.
The European Union said in a statement that it demanded a “swift, thorough and transparent investigation,” into the reports of an abduction of Azerbaijani nationals residing in Georgia.
“A review by Azerbaijan of any and all cases of incarceration related to the exercise of fundamental rights, including the freedom of expression, and immediate release all of those concerned is urgent, in line with Azerbaijan’s international commitments,” the statement continued.
The United States is also troubled by the May 25 arrest in Azerbaijan of deputy Popular Front Party chairperson Gozal Bayramli. Ms. Bayramli was detained on charges of smuggling, according to news reports.
State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert in a written statement urged the government of Azerbaijan to release all those incarcerated for exercising their fundamental freedoms in accordance with Azerbaijan’s international and OSCE commitments.
The United States, Ms. Nauert said, is “closely following the Georgian investigation into the reported abduction, and urge(s) that it be full, transparent, and timely.”