A U.S. congressman has urged Azerbaijan to release jailed journalist Khadija Ismayilova and criticized its crackdown on RFE/RL's Baku bureau.
Ismayilova’s detention last month and a subsequent raid on RFE/RL offices are among "a series of steps by the Azerbaijani government to limit free media and public discourse,” U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher (Republican-California) said in a January 13 statement.
Rohrabacher, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging threats, said releasing Ismayilova “would be a step in the right direction and a sign of Azerbaijan’s positive intentions.”
Ismayilova, an investigative reporter and RFE/RL contributor, was detained December 5 on charges of inciting an attempted suicide. A court ordered that she be held for two months pretrial.
Her supporters say the case is politically motivated.
Other U.S. officials have said they are troubled by Baku's recent crackdown on activists and media.