U.S. welcomes Azerbaijani President’s order on pardon as “step in the right direction”

Baku: The U.S. welcomed the order on pardon, signed by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on December 29, as a “step in the right direction”, said U.S. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke, APA reports.

“We urge Azerbaijan to build on these pardons by releasing others incarcerated in connection with exercising their fundamental freedoms,” Rathke said.

He added that the closure of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty offices in Baku last week was “further cause for concern.”

President Ilham Aliev has signed an order pardoning 87 inmates. The order applies to editor-in-chief of the Khural Newspaper Avaz Zeynalli, editor-in-chief of the P.S. Nota Newspaper Sardar Alibeyli, lawyer Gurban Mammadov, and members of the board of directors of NIDA Civic Movement Zaur Gurbanli and Uzeyir Mammadli.