The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's representative on freedom of the media has welcomed the pardon and release of two jailed journalists and one blogger in Azerbaijan.
The OSCE's Dunja Mijatovic said on December 28 the release "can help create a better environment for journalists."
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev pardoned 86 prisoners on December 26, including journalists Anar Bayramli and Aydin Janiyev and blogger Taleh Khasmammadov.
Mijatovic called on the government to release all jailed journalists, including Avaz Zeynalli, Faramaz Novruzoglu, Vugar Gonagov, and Hilal Mammadov.
Bayramli was arrested in February and sentenced to two years for heroin possession.
Janiyev was sentenced in November to three years in prison for "hooliganism." Several human rights activists and political oppositionists were also pardoned by Aliyev.