The Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights says Azerbaijan needs greater freedom of expression and assembly.
Nils Muiznieks said at the end of a three-day visit to Azerbaijan on May 27 that the release of all persons detained because of their views "should be a priority for the Azerbaijani authorities in order to protect freedom of expression."
While in Azerbaijan, Muiznieks visited the town of Ismayilli where he discussed the protests that took place there last January, and met with jailed youth activists in a pretrial detention center.
Muiznieks called on the president of Azerbaijan not to sign into law amendments applying defamation provisions to online expression, which the parliament recently approved.
Muiznieks has also expressed concerns over problems faced by nongovernmental organizations and the continuous demolition of houses in Baku.