Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has condemned the arrest of Faiq Amirov, a leading member of the Popular Front of Azerbaijan party.
Amirov, who is also the financial director of the daily Azadlig, was arrested this month, charged with "inciting religious hatred" as well as with "violating the rights of citizens under the pretext of conducting religious rites," and ordered held provisionally for three months.
In an August 24 statement, RSF called for the withdrawal of the "ludicrous charges" brought against Amirov.
Azerbaijani police said that Amirov had books by U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the Turkish government has accused of masterminding the July 15 botched coup. Gulen denies involvement.
"By borrowing Erdogan's 'hunt for Gulenists' leitmotiv, the Azerbaijani authorities have found a great pretext for launching a new crackdown against their own critics, even if it is completely absurd," said Johann Bihr, the head of RSF's Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk.
Azerbaijan, a Turkic nation, shares strong ties with Turkey.
It has voiced a strong support for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following the failed coup.