An Azerbaijani parliamentarian has dismissed widespread claims of political prisoners being held in his country.
Samad Seyidov, chairman of the International and Interparliamentary Relations Committee of the Azerbaijani parliament, said on January 30 in Washington that no one in Azerbaijan has been arrested because of their political views.
Speaking at an event at the Atlantic Council think tank, Seyidov said "Nobody in Azerbaijan [has been] restricted or arrested because of their political [beliefs] or other things."
He added that the way to "exclude" Azerbaijan from further integration with Europe and a closer alliance with the United States was to raise human rights concerns with the Baku government.
Azerbaijan convicted or imprisoned at least 33 human rights defenders on politically motivated charges in 2014, according to Human Rights Watch, including at least 10 journalists.
Khadija Ismayilova, an independent journalist and RFE/RL contributor, is in pretrial detention in Baku for allegedly inciting a man to attempt suicide.
The EU and United States have expressed deep concern about Azerbaijan's crackdown on activists and journalists.