The United State is 'deeply troubled' by the reports that Azerbaijan police raided the office of independent media outlet Toplum TV, and by the reported arrests of multiple independent journalists and civil society activists in Azerbaijan today, as State Department's Spokesperson Matthew Miller put it, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports,

"We must express our strong objections to continued attempts to intimidate, repress, and punish journalists, civil society voices, and opposition figures," Miller told a daily press briefing Wednesday afternoon in response to TURAN's inquiry.

The spokesperson went on to add, "We call on Azerbaijan to end the harassment of those exercising their fundamental freedoms, and urge the release of all individuals being unjustly held in politically motivated cases. No one should face incarceration or other retribution for exercising freedom of expression."

Asked by TURAN why should the government draw a different conclusion from international reaction this time around, since it hasn't stopped ongoing media crackdown , Miller said,  "I will not speak to drawing different conclusions. What I will say is that they should stop these actions that — crackdown on free expression — because doing so would be in the interest of their own people. So we will continue to make that clear."

The spokesperson concluded: "I can assure you that when we have private diplomatic conversations with Azerbaijani officials, as the Secretary [of State] had occasion to do just last month, we make those same points privately."

Azerbaijan has detained a string of independent reporters since last fall. Several are still facing trial on charges unrelated to journalistic activity, such as smuggling.

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