May 29th, 2008
The U.S. State Department has released its 2008 Advancing Freedom and Democracy Report.

In the section on Azerbaijan it is noted that, “The government's human rights record remains poor and worsened in some areas in 2007.”

“Torture and beating of persons in police and military custody resulted in four deaths in 2007, and security forces continue to act with impunity,” it is written in the report. “Prison conditions–despite improvements in infrastructure–generally remain harsh and life threatening. Arbitrary arrest and detention, particularly of individuals considered by the government to be political opponents, and lengthy pretrial detention continue. The government imprisons persons for politically motivated reasons, and there is pervasive corruption in the judiciary and in law enforcement. Restrictions on freedom of assembly continue. Restrictions on media freedom and political participation worsened in 2007.”
According to the report, in light of the abovementioned shortcomings, “the United States will continue its work to decrease government pressure on the media and to develop an independent, professional media” and also take a number of other steps to promote democracy and freedom in Azerbaijan.  
This report can be viewed in its entirety here.