The United States on Monday called the recent arrears of journalists, opposition figures, and critics in Azerbaijan 'unacceptable' and said it will continue to urge the Azerbaijani government to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all, "including those exercising freedom of expression, as well as call for the expeditious release of all those who have been unjustly detained," as the State Department's spokesperson Matthew Miller put it, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.

"The recent trend of detaining journalists, civil society activists, and opposition figures in Azerbaijan is deeply troubling," Miller told a daily press briefing in response to TURAN's questions about the latest arrest of a leading opposition leader Tofig Yagublu and others ahead of the country's forthcoming snap election.

Miller added: "Over a dozen such figures have been detained in just the last month. That's unacceptable!."

Since November, authorities in Azerbaijan have arrested more than a dozen journalists, government critics, placing them in pretrial detention on what their lawyers say appear to be fabricated charges.
 

A handful of others were called in for questioning and reported being harassed and threatened against continuing their criticism of the govenrment.

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