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Azerbaijan Cancels EU Delegation's Visit After Criticism Of Its Rights Record

Azerbaijan has cancelled a visit by a European Commission delegation and threatened to "review" its relations with the EU after a European Parliament resolution urged Baku to free an investigative journalist and several human rights activists.

The country's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on September 11 that "The decision to cancel the [European Commission] visit is linked to a biased resolution on Azerbaijan."

It also said, "In general, we should review our ties with the European Union, where anti-Azeri and anti-Islam tendencies are strong."

The nonbinding resolution passed on September 10 strongly condemns the "unprecedented repression against civil society in Azerbaijan."

It calls for the immediate and unconditional release of investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova and several other Azerbaijani human rights activists and lawyers.

Ismayilova, a contributor to RFE/RL, was sentenced on September 1 to 7 1/2 years in prison on charges widely seen as retribution for her reports on corruption involving senior government officials.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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