June 11th, 2009
The Bureau for Rights and Labor of the U.S. State Department has released their annual Advancing Freedom and Democracy Reports.

According to the section on Azerbaijan, “Azerbaijan is a republic with a presidential form of government. The president dominates the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. The government's human rights record remains poor and worsened in some areas in 2008. The government restricted the public's right to peacefully change the government in the presidential election, although there were improvements in some technical aspects of election administration. Torture and beating of persons in police and military custody resulted in three deaths in 2008, and security forces continue to act with impunity. 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. There is pervasive corruption, including in the judiciary and in law enforcement. Restrictions on freedom of assembly continue. Restrictions on media freedom and political participation worsened in 2008, notably through the removal of Voice of America, Radio Liberty, and the BBC from FM frequencies. The government imposes restrictions on the activities of some Christian and Muslim religious groups. Cases of violence against women have been reported. Cases of trafficking in persons continue, although the government has taken some modest steps to address the problem.”

The report on Azerbaijan can be viewed here: http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/afdr/2009/eur/122893.htm


Reports for all countries are available here: