Ned Price

Ned Price

Washington D.C./15.02.23/Turan: The State Department on Tuesday reminded the Azerbaijani authorities of their responsibility for the welfare and well-being of a jailed activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev.

During a daily press conference held at the State Department, TURAN's Washington correspondent asked spokesperson Ned Price whether the U.S. Government was willing to hold those responsible accountable if something happens to Mr. Hajiyev who has been on hunger strike in jail for about 40 days.

"When someone is imprisoned, when someone is imprisoned in this case for political reasons, it is incumbent on the authorities to provide medical care, to provide for the humanitarian needs of this individual," Price said in response.

He went on to add, "... And of course, just as we said in other contexts, those who are holding him are ultimately responsible for his welfare and his well-being."

Hajiyev was arrested on Dec 9, and charged with “hooliganism” and contempt of court. He has strongly denied any wrongdoing, and numerous international organizations have condemned his arrest.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with President Ilham Aliyev on January 23rs  and raised concerns about human rights in Azerbaijan.

Asked by TURAN whether the Secretary raised Hajiyev's case during that call, Price said in general, the two discussed "a broad range of issues"

"When the Secretary engages with his Azerbaijani counterpart, they discuss a broad range of issues. They of course discuss Nagorno Karabakh, they discuss regional issues, but there is also a broader conversation on human rights and the emphasis that we place on human rights and the notion that by strengthening human rights in any country, including in Azerbaijan, that in turn strengthens the bilateral relationship we have," he said.

On Monday key U.S. senators, Dick Durbin and Ben Cardin, urged Azerbaijan to release Hajiyev and other political prisoners 'immediately'.

Alex Raufoglu

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