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U.S. 'Increasingly Concerned' About Azerbaijan's Rights Record

The United States says it is "increasingly concerned" over Azerbaijan's human rights record.

"We are deeply concerned by recent restrictions on civil society activities in Azerbaijan," said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on December 1 in Washington.

She added that the United States is "increasingly concerned that the government of Azerbaijan is not living up to its international human rights commitments and obligations."

Azerbaijan has cracked down harshly on human rights activists and journalists since assuming the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in May.

Human rights activist Leyla Yunus has been in jail since July, and her husband has been in jail since August, on charges of high treason that they say are politically motivated.

Her lawyer says her health has deteriorated significantly.

Last week, human rights lawyer Elcin Namazov was jailed and opposition activist Asif Yusifli went missing.