U.S. Says 'Continues To Be Deeply Troubled' As Wave of Journalist Arrests Continues in Azerbaijan

U.S. Says 'Continues To Be Deeply Troubled' As Wave of Journalist Arrests Continues in Azerbaijan

The United States said on Friday it 'continues to be deeply troubled' as Azerbaijan arrested another journalist - fifth in the past 10 days - from independent media outlets, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.

A court in Baku on Friday ordered Abzas Media journalist Nargiz Absalamova be held in detention for three months on charges of foreign currency smuggling -- allegations that she rejects.

"We have seen the initial reports. We continue to be deeply troubled by the arrests of journalists in Azerbaijan," a State Department Spokesperson told TURAN's Washington correspondent following Absalamova's detention.

"We urge the Azerbaijani government to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all, including those exercising freedom of expression," a State Department Spokesperson added.

Absalamova is the fourth member of Abzas Media to be held in pretrial detention on similar charges since police said they had found 40,000 euros during a raid on the outlet’s office two weeks ago. 

Editor-in-chief Sevinj Vagifgyzy, director Ulvi Hasanli and deputy director Mahammad Kekalov were placed in pre-trial detention for four, three, and four months respectively. 

Separately, a Baku court early this week ordered Aziz Orujov, director of Kanal 13, to be detained for three months pending investigation into illegal construction charges that he and his lawyer believes are retaliatory.

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