The US State Department's report for 2018 touches on the lack of freedom of the press, torture and political prisoners in the country
The US State Department said in its annual report for 2018 that human rights are violated with impunity and that freedom of speech is limited in Azerbaijan.
The report was released on 13 March and dedicates a full 40-page section to Azerbaijan.
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered the report, and noted:
• The death of Teymur Akhundov, which occurred while in police custody and was likely due to torture;
• The death of Huseyn Qurbanov, a border service soldier (there are suspicions that he was killed by colleagues);
• The torture which blogger Mehman Huseynov was subjected to by the police;
• In prisons the conditions are very bad. Cells are overcrowded, there is no heating and ventilation and that prisoners are not provided with necessary medical assistance;
• There are more than a hundred political prisoners in the country, and they are stricter towards them than the rest;
• The government restricts freedom of speech and of the press; journalists are threatened and sometimes beaten or arrested.
According to the 2018 Sustainable Development Index published by IREX, “the main media of Azerbaijan is under the control of the ruling elite and covers the news only in accordance with their goals”.