US 'troubled' by arrest of Azerbaijan journalist
WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
Azerbaijani journalist and commentator Rauf Mirkadyrov. Photo source: rferl.orgThe United States said Thursday it was concerned by the arrest of a prominent journalist in Azerbaijan who has been charged with spying for Armenia.
"We are following the reports of Rauf Mirkadyrov, his deportation from Turkey and arrest in Azerbaijan, closely," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
Azerbaijan's prosecutor general's office said in a statement Monday that Mirkadyrov had been charged with high treason after he "was recruited by the Armenian secret services in 2008 and supplied Yerevan with information on Azerbaijan's state secrets."
Mirkadyrov is the politics correspondent for the independent Russian-language newspaper Zerkalo, or Mirror, which is published in Azerbaijan.
He was detained on Sunday in Azerbaijan's capital Baku after being deported the previous day from Turkey, where he had been based for several years.
The United States was "troubled by his sudden arrest upon arrival in Baku," Psaki said.
"We are also disturbed by allegations that his arrest may have been connected with his critical reporting about the Azerbaijani government or his participation in people-to-people programs aimed at easing tensions and building confidence in the region."