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EU Worried About Pressure On Azerbaijani Opposition, Civil Society, Media

EU foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton (right) with EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele
European Union officials have expressed concern over the "continued pressure" on opposition activists, civil society, and independent media in Azerbaijan ahead of next week's presidential election.

Such pressure includes intimidation, arrests on dubious charges, detentions, and sentencing "without proper respect for international standards and rights of the accused."

The comments were made on October 3 in a joint statement by EU foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton and Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele.

They said the EU expects Azerbaijan's authorities to ensure rapid, transparent, and fair investigations into the cases in order "to enable a favorable environment" for a free and fair presidential vote on October 9.

On October 2, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's representative on freedom of the media, Dunja Mijatovic, called the situation in Azerbaijan "quite worrying" when it comes to free speech and freedom of the media.
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