U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski told RFE/RL that Washington is concerned about Azerbaijan's recent crackdown on rights activists and journalists.
Speaking on the news program "Current Time" on December 18, Malinowski said U.S. officials have been involved in "very serious discussions" with Azerbaijani officials about the recent detentions of rights activists such as Leyla Yunus and her husband Arif as well as Khadija Ismayilova, an investigative journalist and contributor to RFE/RL.
Malinowski said U.S. officials have made clear "the relationship they [Azerbaijan] have with the United States is jeopardized by the crackdown on civil society."
Malinowski said, "Nobody in Azerbaijan, or frankly anywhere, should be imprisoned for the peaceful expression of their views of for engaging in journalism."
He said the United States "wants to see these people released immediately, including" Ismayilova.